Byzantine missions among the Slavs. SS. Constantine-Cyril and Methodius

Francis Dvornik


I. Byzantine, Roman, and Frankish Missions among the Southern Slavs


Establishment of the Slavs in Central Europe, Pannonia, and Illyricum—The Emperor Heraclius, Rome, and the Christianization of the Croats—First results—The role of the coastal cities of Zara and Split and of Aquileia—Foundation of the bishopric of Nin by Pope Nicholas I in 860—Christianization of the Serbs and of the Slavs on Byzantine territory—First traces of Christianity in Bulgaria—The Bulgars and the Franks.



For many centuries Byzantium, capital of the eastern part of the Roman Empire, had a difficult Slavic problem on its hands. It was one of many problems, deriving from the upheaval caused by the great migration of nations. First there was the Germanic wave which swept over the Roman fortifications on the lower Morava and Vag rivers and on the Danube. Death prevented Marcus Aurelius in a.d. 180 from subjugating the German and Sarmatian tribes on the left bank of the Danube, and from extending the Roman Empire to the Carpathian Mountains. Because of this the Roman provinces of Pannonia and Dacia were exposed to constant danger from the wandering Germanic tribes. The Goths conquered the Greek cities on the Black Sea coast and, in the middle of the third century a.d., Dacia became their prey. The short-lived Gothic empire was completely destroyed by the new invaders, the Huns, (a.d. 370), and modem Hungary became the center of their empire under Attila (435-453).


At that time, there were already a few Slavic tribes in Hungary







and in Southern Russia; these tribes had also followed the Goths from their primitive habitats in the region between the Vistula and Dnieper rivers. The main Slavic influx into Central Europe and modern Hungary began during the fifth century and the beginning of the sixth, when the Germanic tribes, who occupied these regions, moved westward and southward to other lands after the collapse of the Hunnic empire. Thus Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia were definitively settled by the Slavs, and the Slovenes pushed through the Alps towards Istria. It was then that the real Slavic problem began for Byzantium. These tribes reached the river Danube and, after 517, according to Byzantine writers, they crossed the Danube to raid Macedonia, Thessaly, and Epirus.


Justinian (527-565) seems to have fought against them, and forced the tribes established beyond the lower Danube, under the leadership of the Antes, probably of Sarmatian origin, to become federates of the Empire. This success added to Justinian’s titles that of Anticus. In spite of this, the invasions of Illyricum continued, becoming more and more dangerous as the Slavs occupied the invaded territory. [1]


These incursions were violent, but a slow assimilation of the newcomers by the natives in lands with a high level of culture seemed possible. The example of the Antes demonstrates this. But these chances were spoiled by the arrival of new invaders, the Avars, a nomadic Turkic tribe. They first destroyed (after 558) the loose political formation of the Antes, allied themselves with the Lombards (c. 565), with the help of their allies exterminated the Gepids in what was previously Dacia, and occupied the whole of modern Hungary after the Lombards had left for northern Italy (after 573). All the Slavic tribes in Central Europe became their subjects. Then serious trouble began for the Byzantines. With their Slavic subjects, the Avars invaded Illyricum and Dalmatia. [2] All the cities of Pannonia [3] and western Illyricum were destroyed, only those on the Adriatic Sea managed to survive, and the Slavs took definitive possession of what is today Yugoslavia. As a consequence of this, almost all traces of Christian life disappeared in Pannonia, Dalmatia, and the western part of Illyricum. These provinces, which once possessed flourishing Christian cities and bishoprics, were once again pagan territory.


There was great danger that even Macedonia and Greece





would meet with a similar fate. Both lands were invaded, and by about 578 the Slavs had penetrated as far as the Peloponnesus, where two of their tribes, the Milingues and the Ezerites, established themselves. [4] In the last quarter of the sixth century, further Slavic colonies were founded in Greece, even in the neighborhood of the famous classical cities of Thebes, Demetrias, and Athens. [5] In 597 Thessalonica was unsuccessfully besieged by the Avars and Slavs. The citizens attributed their deliverance to the intervention of their patron saint, Demetrius, but the environs of the city were to a great extent Slavicized.


The situation was growing more dangerous as the Empire was also menaced by the Persians. The Emperor Heraclius looked for allies among the neighbors of the Avars. In 619 he concluded an alliance with Kuvrat (Kurt), Khagan of the Bulgars, then established north of the lower Danube. [6] It is not impossible that Byzantine diplomacy also sponsored the uprising of the Slavs north of the upper Danube in Moravia and Bohemia. [7] The rebellious Slavs found an able leader in the person of Samo, a Frankish merchant, [8] who became the head of the first Slavic political state, which lasted until his death thirty-five years later (658).


The year 626 was extremely critical, as Constantinople was besieged by the Persians, Avars, and Slavs. Their defeat under the walls of the capital signalled the growing decline of Avar power. Another diplomatic move by Heraclius speeded up the decline— an invitation to the White Croats to help defeat the Avars in Dalmatia and Illyricum, and then to settle in those provinces. Originally the Croats were most probably a Sarmatian tribe who had been forced by the Huns to flee from their settlements near the Caucasus towards the northwest. They settled among the Slavic tribes in modern Galicia, Silesia, and southern Bohemia. The Slavs accepted the leadership of these warriors, who soon lost their national character and were Slavicized. They had escaped Avar supremacy and accepted the emperor’s invitation.


It is difficult to say by which route they had reached Dalmatia. It is generally thought that they travelled through the Moravian Gates, Pannonia, and the former Noricum. The way through Moravia was perhaps open, after the successful insurrection led by Samo. Pannonia was, however, still in Avar hands, and the way through that country was certainly well guarded.


However, it seems more logical to suppose that Heraclius





wanted them near the capital, which was besieged by the Avars in 626. A safe and easy route could be found along the great rivers behind the Carpathian Mountains, towards the lower Danube, and thence along the coast to Byzantine territory. It should be recalled that at that time the lands from the lower Don southwards to the Caucasus—the Old Great Bulgaria—were under the rule of Kuvrat (Kurt), who had liberated himself from the Avars with the help of the Byzantines and was an ally of Heraclius.


The cities of the former Roman provinces of Scythia, Moesia, and Thrace were destroyed during the invasions, but the old Roman road along the coast still existed. It can be imagined that the approach of a new allied army from the North accelerated the retreat of the Avars, who were pursued by the liberated Byzantine army and the emperor’s new allies. In this way we can perhaps explain how the Byzantines succeeded in reoccupying Singidunum—Belgrade. Constantine Porphyrogenitus relates that a number of White Serbs, another Sarmatian tribe which had been overtaken by the same fate as the Croats and had settled among the Slavs in modern Saxony, left their country and asked Heraclius for a new home. The emperor settled them in the thema of Thessalonica, but the majority of them were dissatisfied and decided to return to their original place. They got as far as Belgrade, but were persuaded by the Byzantine commander there to settle in the land which became the nucleus of the future Serbia. This must have happened soon after the liberation of the besieged capital.


It could be imagined that the Byzantines directed the Croats from Macedonia to the coast. They could reach Dyrrhachium along the old Via Egnatia and begin the war against the Avars from the province of Epirus and the Adriatic coast, where remnants of Byzantine possessions still existed. With the help of the Slavic subjects of the Avars, and the remnants of the Greek and Latin population, aided perhaps by the Byzantine navy, the Croats succeeded, after a fight which lasted several years, in expelling the Avars from Dalmatia. Constantine relates that, after this achievement, some of them also occupied lower Pannonia and Epirus, which was at that time called Illyricum. One tribe also seems to have liberated the Slovenes of Carinthia. The Croats





settled in the liberated countries, and assumed the overlordship of the Slavs living there. [9]


*  *  *


According to the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (913-959), Heraclius thought that after this success it was necessary to Christianize the Slavs. He describes Heraclius’ plan as follows: [10] “By command of the Emperor Heraclius, these same Croats defeated and expelled the Avars from these parts, and by mandate of the Emperor Heraclius they settled down in that same country of the Avars, where they now dwell. These same Croats had at that time for prince the father of Porgas. The Emperor Heraclius sent and brought priests from Rome, and made of them an archbishop and a bishop and elders and deacons, and baptized the Croats; and at that time these Croats had Porgas for their prince.”


This report by Constantine is rejected by most subsequent historians, including the best Serbian historian, C. Jireček. [11] It was thought that Byzantium and Rome were not on good terms, and that, if Heraclius had desired to reintroduce Christianity into Illyricum, he would have sent Byzantine missionaries. However, there is no reason why Constantine’s report should not be accepted. Byzantium and Rome were not always quarrelling, as is so often believed under the shadow of the later schism. On the contrary, Pope Honorius, to whom Heraclius may have addressed his request to send missionaries, was on very good terms with the emperor. We must not forget that the whole of Illyricum, which embraced all the provinces from Pannonia through Greece to the Peloponnesus, with their Latin and Greek populations, were subject ecclesiastically to the Roman patriarchate. [12] This situation was only changed in 732 when the iconoclastic Emperor Leo III, in order to punish Pope Gregory III for his condemnation of iconoclasm, detached what was left of Illyricum from Roman jurisdiction and subordinated it to the Byzantine patriarchate. [13] This explains Heraclius’ move. He could not overlook this fact, and was bound to acknowledge the right of Rome to send missionaries to Dalmatia and the reconquered part of Illyricum.


This was the first attempt at the Christianization of the Slavs, and it was initiated by Byzantium. Unfortunately, we have no





direct information about the progress of Christianity among the Croats at this early period. However, the emperor’s statement must have been founded on some facts. [14] It seems most probable that Heraclius, after the liberation of Dalmatia from the Avars, reorganized the ecclesiastical situation in the Dalmatian cities on the Adriatic. There is a local tradition in Split (Spalato) which attributes the erection of an archbishopric in this city to this period. Split claimed the inheritance of Salona, the metropolis of Dalmatia, which was destroyed by the Avars in 614. Thomas the Archdeacon, who died in 1268, the author of a history of Salona, [15] even mentions the name of the first archbishop of Split—John of Ravenna. He says that the pope had sent him as his legate to Dalmatia and Croatia on a special mission to reinforce Christianity among the surviving natives. John is said to have fulfilled his mission well. He encouraged the Christians to conserve the ancient ecclesiastical organization by transferring the metropolitan see from Salona to Spalato (Split). He was elected archbishop by the local population and confirmed in this dignity by the pope.


Some scholars have thought, however, that Thomas confused this archbishop with Pope John IV, a native Dalmatian (640-642), or with Pope John X (914-929), who, in his reorganization of the Dalmatian and Croatian clergy, subordinated the whole country to Split. [16] There may, however, be some good reasons which explain this intimate connection of Byzantine Dalmatia with Ravenna, and which would seem to justify the choice of a priest from Ravenna for a special mission to Dalmatia.


First of all, the place of Dalmatia in the organization of the Roman provinces should be re-examined. It is generally assumed that it was a part of Eastern Illyricum. [17] This opinion appears to be confirmed by the letter sent in 592 by Pope Gregory the Great to Jobinus, prefect of Eastern Illyricum, in which the pope asked the prefect not to give any support to Natalis, the Bishop of Salona, who was accused of an uncanonical attitude and was unwilling to obey papal orders. [18] The main object of this letter was the recommendation of an envoy to administer the papal patrimony in Illyricum. The pope only mentioned Natalis because his case was foremost in his mind at that time, as is shown by several papal letters concerning this bishop, written in the same year. There was a danger that Natalis might seek the prefect’s support at the imperial court.





There are, however, in the papal register several letters concerning the affair of Natalis’ successor Maximus (594-620), who, with the support of Marcellinus, the proconsul of Dalmatia, had ousted Honoratus, the archdeacon who had been canonically elected. Maximus had made himself archbishop of Salona and was then confirmed in office by the emperor on the recommendation of Marcellinus, and was accepted by all the suffragans, with one exception, as their metropolitan. The pope protested this action and forbade Maximus to exercise his episcopal functions. [19] Gregory wanted first to learn whether the imperial sanction really had been granted. The Emperor Maurice replied to Gregory that Maximus should not have been ordained without the pope’s permission. This the pope disclosed in the letter to the deacon Sabinus, his representative in Constantinople. [20] In the same letter Gregory directly accused the distinguished men (gloriosi viri) of Romanus, exarch of Ravenna, of having accepted bribes from Maximus and allowing him to be ordained metropolitan of Salona. The pope probably meant the proconsul Marcellinus of Dalmatia and certain high functionaries of Dalmatia and of Ravenna.


Gregory’s envoy at the court obtained from the emperor an order that Maximus, who had invoked the emperor’s intervention, should appear in Rome and justify himself in the presence of the pope. [21] The affair was becoming increasingly annoying for both the court and the pope. The new exarch Callinicus asked the pope to accept Maximus as the legitimate metropolitan, [22] but Gregory persisted in his demand that Maximus should first be judged for his deeds according to Canon Law. Callinicus and Marcellinus made a further attempt to change the pope’s attitude, but in vain. [23] Finally, Marcellinus himself convinced Maximus that he should give some satisfaction to the pope. Because Maximus refused to go to Rome, the pope ordered the metropolitans of Ravenna, and of Milan, to act as his representatives and to pronounce judgment in Ravenna where Maximus was willing to appear. Again the pope informed the exarch of this decision. [24] After submitting to penance, Maximus was accepted by the pope as the legitimate metropolitan of Salona. In his letter announcing this Gregory again stressed that he had shown his benevolence toward the metropolitan because of the intervention of the exarch Callinicus. [25]


All this would appear to indicate that intimate relations must





have existed between Dalmatia and the exarchs of Ravenna. It seems to be established that in 549, and in 579, Dalmatia was not a part of Illyricum. This is confirmed by Procopius and Menander who separate Dalmatia very clearly from Illyricum. [26] We have seen that the argument derived from the letter of Gregory the Great to Jobinus, prefect of Illyricum, cannot be regarded as proving conclusively that in 592 Dalmatia was a province of Illyricum. The letters of Gregory I on the affairs of Maximus, which reveal the prominent role played in Dalmatian ecclesiastical affairs by the exarchs of Ravenna, Romanus and Callinicus, seem rather to indicate that in the seventh century Dalmatia formed a part of the exarchate of Ravenna.


This would further indicate that Justinian, having liberated Dalmatia from the Goths in 538, had reinstated the old status. According to all this, from the time of Diocletian’s reforms, Dalmatia—with the exception of a very short period in the fifth century [27]—formed a part of the prefecture of Italy.


Unfortunately, no trace of this is found in Justinian’s legislation. Since Dalmatia was administered by a proconsul in Gregory the Great’s time, as is attested by his correspondence, E. Stein [28] has advanced the theory that Justinian instituted the proconsulate of Dalmatia after 538, probably at the time when the exarchate of Ravenna was established. The existence of the latter is only attested for the year 584 by a letter of Pope Pelagius II to the deacon Gregory. [29] Rut Stein’s opinion that Dalmatia was incorporated into Illyricum [30] some time before 592 cannot be accepted, as we have seen. If one hesitates to think of Dalmatia as a part of the exarchate, one should, at least, conclude from all this that Dalmatia was directly subject to Constantinople, without the intermediary of the prefecture of Illyricum. Such is the opinion of J. Ferluga who, however, rejects the thesis that Dalmatia belonged to the exarchate of Ravenna. [31] What we have found in Gregory’s letters seems to contradict this opinion. On the other hand, the fact that Dalmatia was governed by a proconsul does not exclude the possibility that a proconsul could be subject to a prefect. Peter the Patrician, [32] a contemporary of Justinian, speaks of a proconsul of Achaia who was subject to the prefect of Illyricum. A similar situation might have existed in the exarchate. The proconsul of Dalmatia could have been responsible to the





exarch. The interest of the exarchs in the ecclesiastical affairs of Dalmatia can be explained in this way. [33]


If we accept this, then we are entitled to suppose that this situation continued until the end of the exarchate in 751, when the Lombards took Ravenna. We also find an echo of this old tradition in Constantine Porphyrogenitus’ work De thematibus. When speaking of Dalmatia, the emperor simply says that it is a part of Italy. [34] He probably had the geographical location in mind, but this suggests that, because of the geographical factor, Dalmatia had been included in the administrative system of Italy.


There is yet another fact which seems to support the close connection of Dalmatia with Italy, Rome and the exarchate of Ravenna. In his ecclesiastical organization Justinian respected the special position of Dalmatia and, although it was a Latin province, he did not subordinate its bishops to Justiniana Prima. Only the bishops of the two Dacies, of Illyria, Dardania, Praevalis, and Pannonia were subject to the metropolitan of Justiniana Prima, [35] who also became the pope’s vicar in Western Illyricum. The metropolitan of Thessalonica continued to represent the Roman patriarch in Eastern Illyricum with its Greek population. This explains why the clergy of Milan, in its letter concerning Vigilius’ attitude to ecclesiastical policy, [36] distinguished very clearly between the clergy of Illyricum and that of Dalmatia. So also did the African bishop Facundus. [37] All this seems to indicate that Justinian had restored Dalmatia to the prefecture of Italy, or the Exarchate of Ravenna. This also explains why Gregory the Great dealt with the bishops of Dalmatia directly, as he did with the bishops of Italy.


If this was so, then the request of Heraclius to the pope to Christianize the new inhabitants of Dalmatia, who were regarded as the allies of the Empire, becomes more logical. The sending of a native of Ravenna to the Croats on a special mission can also be explained in the light of the relations between Ravenna and Dalmatia in the past.


If we accept the testimony of Constantine Porphyrogenitus that the initiative for the re-establishment of a Dalmatian hierarchy and the Christianization of the Croats came from Heraclius, there are three popes who may be thought of as executors of the imperial will, namely, Honorius I (625-638), Severinus (638-640), and





John IV (640-642). Honorius enjoyed friendly relations with Heraclius, who granted him permission to use the gilt bronze roof tiles of the temple of Venus and Rome for the basilica of St. Peter. [38] If it was Honorius who was asked by the emperor to send priests to Dalmatia, he could hardly have done so before 630. Assuming that the Croats had arrived at the invitation of the emperor in 626, or soon afterwards, their light with the Avars had lasted several years, according to Porphyrogenitus. During that time the question of converting them could hardly have existed.


Also it seems that, after the settlement of the Croats in the conquered land, there were conflicts of interest between the new masters and the remnants of the native Christian population. Such conflicts are mentioned by Archdeacon Thomas in his history of Salona and Spalato. [39] According to him, the remnants of the population of Salona first took refuge on the Adriatic Islands and only began to return to the mainland later. They were molested by the Slavs, who prevented them from leaving the palace of Diocletian (Spalato), where they had settled. The citizens then sent an embassy to the emperor who gave them permission to take up their abode in the palace, and through a “sacrum rescriptum” ordered the Slavs to leave the native population in peace. The Slavs obeyed and, from that time on, there was peaceful coexistence.


There is no reason for us not to accept this report of the archdeacon. His information is certainly based on local tradition. The expression he uses when speaking of the emperor’s order—sacrum rescriptum dominorum principum—emphasizes this. It could hardly have been invented in the thirteenth century. Also the words dominorum principum aptly describe the political situation in Byzantium. In 613, Heraclius made his infant son Constantine co-emperor. [40] The rescript was therefore really sent in the name of two emperors—Heraclius and Constantine.


If all these events took place during the reign of Heraclius, the peaceful coexistence between the Croats and the natives could only have begun during the last years of the pontificate of Honorius. He could, thus, have been the pope to whom the emperor made the request to initiate the Christianization of the Croats. His successor Severinus (638-640) could hardly have done anything in this respect because he was only confirmed in his dignity by Heraclius in 640. [41] John IV was confirmed and consecrated as





early as December 640. During his pontificate the situation in Dalmatia was already stabilized, and it could be accepted that he was the pontiff who implemented the request of Heraclius and re-established the hierarchy in Dalmatia.


John IV was born in Dalmatia, and showed his interest in his native land by sending Abbot Martin there, and to Istria, with the mission of collecting the relics of the saints in the ruined churches, and of redeeming the Christian prisoners. [42] The Croats, being the emperor’s allies, were not supposed to hold the native population in slavery, but they certainly kept the prisoners taken by the Avars after the defeat of the latter. The pope gave the abbot a large sum of money, and great numbers of Christian prisoners were freed. They settled on the coast among those of their countrymen who had escaped captivity. The abbot collected the relics of the saints and brought them to Rome; they were deposited by the Pope in an oratory near the basilica of St. John in the Lateran Palace.


This indicates that the situation in Dalmatia was not only peaceful, but that friendly relations already existed between the new settlers and the remnants of the Latin population. Such an atmosphere was very favorable to the realization of Heraclius’ plans. It could thus be accepted that, if there is any truth in Thomas’ statement concerning the transfer of the metropolitan status from Salona to Spalato, it was effected by John IV in 640, the last year of the reign of Heraclius.


There is one objection which may be made against this supposition, namely, that it is vain to search in the Liber Pontificalis for any mention of any pope re-establishing hierarchical order in Dalmatia. However, a perusal of the short biographies of Honorius I, Severinus, and John IV leaves the impression that the author of the Liber Pontificalis was interested only in the deeds of those popes in Rome itself. He goes into detail describing the erection or restoration of churches by the popes, or of complications with the local militia, or the exarchs. But he limits himself in regard to the ordinations of bishops, quoting only the number of ordinations which each pope had held and the number of bishops and priests he had ordained “for different places.” It is probable that not even the mission of Abbot Martin would have attracted the attention of the biographer of John IV, if the relics collected in Dalmatia had not been deposited in a special oratory in Rome, constructed





and decorated by John IV for the purpose. Of course, it would have been a great help to historians had the author given us the names of the bishops ordained, and of the bishoprics they were to occupy, but, unfortunately, the writer of the Liber Pontificalis was more interested in other matters less relevant to Church historians.


Fortunately, an archaeological discovery has come to the aid of the historians. A sarcophagus discovered in the Cathedral of Spalato bears an inscription which testifies that it contained the body of the “feeble, useless sinner, Archbishop John”. [43] The archaeologists were not unanimous as to the date of the sarcophagus. L. Karaman [44] dated it as being of the second half of the eighth century. Its plastic decoration could point to this period, but its archaic form suggests that it may also be from an earlier period. The recent discovery of a church portal in Sućurac, in the vicinity of the former Salona, helped to make further progress in the dating of the sarcophagus. [45] Its simple plastic decoration is definitely archaic, pointing to the last phase of antiquity, and this style of decoration was not used after the seventh century.


The epigraphy of the two documents is almost identical. Both monuments must be from the same period, although the sarcophagus may be one or two decades later than the portal. This eliminates the opinion that Thomas of Spalato had confused John of Ravenna with John IV, or John X, and confirms that there did exist in the seventh or eighth century a prelate John who called himself archbishop. He could only have been the archbishop of Salona-Spalato.


The dating of the sarcophagus as being of the end of the seventh century is more probable. This confirms the testimony of Thomas of Spalato that John of Ravenna became the first archbishop of Spalato, successor to the metropolitans of ancient Salona. The supposition that John IV had been instrumental in transferring the metropolitan status from Salona to Spalato also becomes most probable, thanks to these two archaeological discoveries. This, of course, does not exclude the possibility that Heraclius’ request to re-establish the hierarchy in the reconquered lands, was accomplished by one of the successors of John IV. In any case, John of Ravenna did exist and he was the first archbishop of Spalato.


The discovery of the church portal in Sućurac also confirms Thomas’ other information, namely that John of Ravenna, when





ordained by the pope, began to restore the ruined churches and to preach the Gospel to the new inhabitants. [46] The restoration of a church in Sućurac indicates also that the conversion of the Croats was making progress in the seventh century. Sućurac was not situated in the part of Dalmatia which belonged to the territory of Spalato, but was on Croat soil, and later became a royal domain.


A further archaeological discovery made in Spalato in 1958 reveals another deed of the same archbishop of Ravenna. This is the finding of the sarcophagus of St. Domnius (Dujan) in the Cathedral of Spalato. The inscription on the sarcophagus says that "the body of the blessed Domnius, archbishop of Salona, disciple of St. Peter, the prince of the Apostles, was transferred from Salona to Spalato by John, the archipresul of the same see.” [47]


This again seems to confirm the report by Thomas in the History of the transfer of the remains of Domnius and of Anastasius from Salona to Spalato. This transfer must have taken place in the early years of John’s bishopric, because Thomas says that the discoverers of the relics hurried to Spalato, being afraid that the Slavs might interfere with their operation. The relics of St. Anastasius are also said to have been transferred by him.


It was generally believed that the relics of Domnius were brought to Rome by Abbot Martin. If this is true, then we should suppose that Spalato later acquired a part of those relics from Rome, [48] or that the relics found by the citizens of Spalato in the ruins of Salona were not genuine. The inscription on the sarcophagus recalls, however, the epigraphic style of the two inscriptions mentioned above. It should also be noted that the name of Domnius is not mentioned among the relics brought by Martin. On the mosaic representing the Saints whose relics had been deposited by John IV in the oratory of St. Venantius, Domnius is also shown, although his relics were not transferred to Rome. John IV desired to have him represented there because he was the first bishop of Salona, the pope’s native city, and the patron saint of Dalmatia. It is quite logical to think that the Spalatans wished to keep the body of the founder of the metropolitan see of Salona which had been transferred to Spalato. It is quite possible also that the moving of the relics of Domnius to Spalato was made in agreement with Abbot Martin.


We have thus sufficient reason to believe that the reorganization of the Dalmatian hierarchy was really effected in the first half of





the seventh century, on the initiative of the Emperor Heraclius, who was responsible for the settlement of the Croats in that province. It was, most probably, Pope John IV who established the first metropolitan in Spalato, considered to be the heir of Salona. The choice of a cleric from Ravenna is explained by the fact that Dalmatia was, still, in the seventh century, a part of the exarchate of Ravenna. The exarch Isacius most probably influenced this choice. He had declared his interest in Christian refugees from the territories invaded by the Lombards, by constructing a cathedral in Torcello in 639 for the new bishopric created for them. [49] He tried to use the Croats also in his struggle with the Lombards. Desiring to obtain a direct connection between the exarchate and the Byzantine possessions in southern Italy, he was, most probably, the initiator of the maritime expedition of the Croats against Siponto. [50] Their attack was, however, unsuccessful. It was the second time that the Croats had acted as imperial allies against the enemies of the Empire.


We can also accept another statement by Porphyrogenitus, namely, that the Croats were converted under their ruler Porgas. He says that the Croats fought against the Avars under the leadership of Porgas’ father, whose name he does not give. The latter was, most probably, one of the five brothers who came with their nation to Dalmatia, perhaps Kloukas, who is first mentioned by Porphyrogenitus, or Chrobatos. [51] The first generation of the Croats fought against the Avars and ensured their leadership of the Slavs whom they found in the country. The second generation was more inclined to listen to the Christian message.


Rome continued to manifest its interest in the Christianization of the Croats. This can be concluded from the letter which Pope Agatho sent to the Emperor Constantine IV in 680. [52] There he discloses that many of his “confamuli’ were working among the Lombards, Slavs, Franks, Gauls, Goths, and Britons. The Slavs mentioned in the letter can only be the Croats. If the “confamuli” should be bishops-and the context seems rather to indicate it— then we can see in it a reference to the newly re-established Latin hierarchy in the Adriatic cities which was charged with the conversion of the Croats.


This would seem to be confirmed also by another report of Constantine’s. In the same chapter he writes that the “baptized Croats will not fight foreign countries outside the borders of their





own; for they received a kind of oracular response and promise from the pope of Rome, who in the time of Heraclius, emperor of the Romans, sent priests and baptized them. For after their baptism the Croats made a covenant, confirmed with their own hands and by oaths sure and binding in the name of St. Peter the apostle, that never would they set upon a foreign country and make war on it, but would rather live at peace with all who were willing to do so; and they receive from the same pope of Rome a benediction to this effect, that if any of the pagans should come against the country of these same Croats and bring war upon it, then might the God of the Croats fight for the Croats and protect them, and Peter the disciple of Christ give them victories.”


The account has a strong legendary aspect. In spite of that, it must be based on something real. It seems to indicate that peaceful relations between the Latin coastal cities and the Croats were established thanks to the missionary activity of Roman priests among them. [53] We are entitled to go even further and suppose that Constantine may have found in the imperial archives a report sent to Heraclius by Honorius or John IV, announcing that the first result of the missions—the establishment of a hierarchy and of peaceful relations between the coastal cities and the Croats of the hinterland—had been realized. The repeated mention of Peter in Constantine’s report sounds like an extract from or an echo of a papal letter. Constantine had no special reason to mention St. Peter in this connection. His name was, however, repeatedly invoked in papal documents [54].


After the disappearance of the exarchate in 751, and during the eighth century, the Croats were politically directly under Byzantine supremacy, which was rather nominal. Ecclesiastically, however, Dalmatian Croatia remained under direct Roman jurisdiction, as before. Although no reports are extant on the progress of Christianization among the Croats, we can suppose that, during the second half of the seventh and the eighth century, churches had already been constructed, or ruined churches restored, by Latin missionaries from the coastal cities to the Croats, especially those from Zadar (Zara) and Split.


One should imagine that this first wave of Christianization could reach only the tribes in the neighborhood of the coastal cities. Their Latin population had first to recover from the onslaught and increase the number of its priests. In this, the citizens





were most probably assisted by their compatriots from Italy and by the papacy. The penetration of Christianity into the interior of Dalmatia must have been slower and could be accelerated only in the second half of the eighth and the beginning of the ninth centuries.


*  *  *


The city of Zara, which had not suffered during the invasion, seems always to have had a bishop. [55] According to Porphyrogenitus even the great islands of Arbe (Rab), Vekla (Krk), and Opsara, (Osor) remained intact, and many Latin Dalmatians found a refuge there. Rab possessed a bishopric in 530 and 533. It is listed in the Acts of synods held in Salona in these years. [56] Because Rab had not been invaded, it is legitimate to suppose that its bishopric continued to exist. The Chronicle of Grado [57] records that Elias, the Patriarch of Grado, had announced at his synod in 579 the foundation of sixteen new bishoprics in Istria and Dalmatia, and among them were the bishoprics of Vekla (Krk) and Opsara (Osor). Even if the existence of the synod is questioned by some specialists, it seems certain that these two bishoprics were founded in the second half of the sixth century. It appears that this foundation is connected with the opposition of the metropolitan of Aquileia-Grado to the condemnation by the fifth general council (553), at the request of Justinian, of the three Chapters containing the writings of Ibas of Edessa, Theodoret of Kyros, and Theodore of Mopsuestia. The bishop of Rab joined the patriarch, who founded new bishoprics in order to strengthen his position. It is probable that when Candianus, the Patriarch bishop of Grado (607-612), had ended the schism with Rome, [58] the bishoprics of Rab, of Vekla, and Opsara—both situated on the territory of Rab—returned for a short time to Salona before the city was destroyed.


We can thus name five bishops in the neighborhood of the Croat territory whose prime interest was to work on the conversion of the Croats. The higher civilization displayed by the Latin cities must naturally have attracted the Croats. The missionaries sent to the mainland by the bishops of the coastal cities and islands were aided in their work by the remnants of the Christian population which had found refuge in the mountains. These survivors of Christianity in Croat lands are mentioned in the chronicle of the





Priest of Duklja [59] and also in some documents published by G. Marini, [60] The existence of such Christian islands in the pagan sea cannot be doubted.


It is also possible that all the churches in Dalmatia were not completely destroyed and that some of them could be used by the remnants of the Christian population and by the new converts. Archdeacon Thomas mentions such a church in Delmis (Duvno) where a church, consecrated in 518 by Bishop Germanus of Capua, on his way to Constantinople, was still in use in the thirteenth century. [61] Croat archaeologists may find more cases of this kind.


Unfortunately, we have no information on the progress of the Christianization of the Croats during the eighth century. It has been thought that the subordination of Dalmatian bishoprics under Constantinople in 732 by the Emperor Leo III had hampered this. There is still a lively controversy among historians concerning this change in Dalmatian religious status. In order to punish Pope Gregory III (731-741) for his opposition to the emperor's iconoclastic decrees, Leo III confiscated the patrimony of St. Peter in the prefecture of Illyricum, in the exarchate of Sicily, and in the duchy of Calabria. At the same time he detached all the bishoprics of these countries from the Roman patriarchate and subordinated them to the patriarchs of Constantinople.


Because it was believed that Dalmatia had been a part of Illyricum, it was concluded that, from 732 on, the bishops of Dalmatia were under the jurisdiction of the patriarchate of Constantinople. [62] We have seen, however, that Dalmatia was not a part of Illyricum, but, down to the year 751, of the exarchate of Ravenna. Because of this, the decree of Leo III in 732 did not affect the Dalmatian bishoprics. This seems to be confirmed by the letter of Nicholas I to Michael III in 860 [63] in which the pope demanded the return of the detached provinces under his jurisdiction. Dalmatia is not mentioned, which shows that it had never been detached from the jurisdiction of Rome. It should be stressed also that Dalmatia never appeared in the Byzantine Tactica, the lists of bishoprics under the patriarchate of Constantinople. [64] After the disappearance of the exarchate, Dalmatia was directly under Constantinople, probably as an archontia [65] with an archon-dux who resided in Zara. Zara was chosen to become the political center of Byzantine Dalmatia because the city was the best preserved and best developed of the Latin coastal cities and,





perhaps, also because it was nearer to Istria and Venice, which were still in Byzantine hands.


The Croats also were nominally under Byzantine supremacy. Constantine Porphyrogenitus says that “from the Croats who came to Dalmatia a part split off and possessed themselves of Illyricum and Pannonia.” [66] It is not quite clear if the emperor here means only Pannonia, which used to be part of Western Illyricum or, if besides Pannonia, he hints at Epirus which was in the later period identified with Illyricum. The circumstance in which Constantine speaks only of one “sovereign prince, who used to maintain friendly contact, though through envoys only, with the prince of Croatia,” would indicate that he had in mind only the prince of Pannonia of the ancient western Illyricum. [67] It is however, quite possible that the Croats had extended their sway over all the Slavic tribes of former Praevalis and parts of Epirus. [68] This would be most probable if we could assume that the Croats had begun their struggle against the Avars from these provinces which were still partly in Byzantine possession. We know that these lands had suffered heavily during the invasions and almost all the bishoprics in Praevalis and Epirus had disappeared. [69] It is thus quite possible that some of the Croat people went there and subjugated the Slavs living there.


The Byzantines were in no position to reinforce their authority in the lands freed from the Avars by the Croats. But the bishoprics of the coastal cities were under direct Byzantine rule, although under Roman jurisdiction, and Byzantium enjoyed friendly relations with Rome after the liquidation of the first phase of iconoclastic quarrels (787). Therefore, there was no reason why the progress of Christianity among the Croats could not have continued during the eighth century. There is a report by the chronicler of Duklja, written between 1149 and 1153, [70] of a national assembly held in the plain near the former Delminium (Duvno), in the presence of the representatives of the Byzantine emperor and of the pope. If this event is dated in the year 753, as was recently proposed, [71] we would have here new documentary evidence of the development of Christianity among the Croats. Unfortunately, the report is highly unreliable and so full of confusing reminiscences, that it cannot be taken as evidence that Croatia was already completely Christianized by the middle of





the eighth century. There is, however, further evidence showing that at least some of the Croat chiefs were Christians by the end of the eighth century. There is the inscription which the Župan Godeslav (780-800) ordered to be made in the Church of the Holy Cross in Nin (ancient Nona), which he had constructed. Nin was also the residence of the first known Croat prince—Višeslav (about 800), who was certainly a Christian. [72]


Moreover, certain Croatian words from the realm of Christian terminology indicate that Christianity came to the Croats at an early stage from the coastal cities, where the Latin terminology formerly used in Dalmatia and Illyricum had survived. The patron saints of the coastal cities were also popular among the Croats. [73] Other saints whose cults were favored by the coastal cities and later by the Croats include names which indicate that Eastern, Italian, and Roman influences were prominent in the primitive Christian community in Dalmatian Croatia. The cults of Moses, Daniel, Elias, Demetrius, Michael, St. Sophia, Sergius, George, Theodore, Stephen, Cosmas and Damian, Plato, Zoilus, Andrew, and others could only have been imported from the East. The cult of Peter, Appollinaris, Vitalis, Alexander, Benedict, Cassian, Cyprian, Dominicus (= Dinko), Isidore, and others came from Rome, Ravenna, and Italy in general. [74] This influence is also documented by the transformation of the Latin sanctus into sut in Dalmatia (in Istria also sat). In this way we encounter in the Dalmatian popular calendar and toponomy curious combinations, like Sutpetar (St. Peter), Stugjuragj, Sujuraj (St. Georgius), Sutvara, Sveta Vara (Sancta Barbara), Sutikla (Sancta Thecla), Sutomiscica (Sancta Eufemia), Stošija (Sancta Anastasia), etc. [75]


It is also important to note that at this early stage of its history the Croatian Church was unaware of the system of proprietary churches, according to which ecclesiastical institutions became the property of the founders, who claimed certain rights in the appointment of priests in these institutions. This system was. a Frankish invention, and the fact that the Croats did not accept it indicates that knowledge of Christianity must have reached them at an early stage from another center, which ignored this system. This can only be the area of the Adriatic coastal cities, or Rome itself.


All this leads us to believe that Christianity penetrated into





Slavic Dalmatia from Rome and Italy, through the intermediary of the Latin coastal cities. Rome never lost its interest in the newcomers to Dalmatia and in what was left of Illyricum.


On the other hand, however, a new power was rising on the northern frontier of Dalmatia—the Frankish Empire under Charlemagne. In 788 Bavaria was added to the Empire, and Byzantium lost Istria. The Slavs of the former Noricum became Frankish subjects. The Pannonian Croats, with their prince Vojnomir, accompanied Charlemagne in his campaign against the Avars (791; 795-796) and became his subjects. The Margrave Eric of Friuli, whose territory also comprised Noricum, Istria, and Croatian Pannonia, made an attempt in about 797 to subjugate the Dalmatian Croats, but the vain attempt cost him his life. [76] The war between Byzantium and the Franks, which started after Charlemagne’s “usurpation” of the imperial title in 800 permitted the successor of Eric, Cadolah, to intervene in Dalmatia and to force the Croats to recognize Frankish sovereignty (803). In 805 even Paul “dux Jaderae,” and Donatus, bishop of the same city, appeared before Charlemagne at Diedenhofen (Thionville), to plead for their country. [77] The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle in 812 finally confirmed the Byzantines in the possession of Venice and of the Dalmatian coastal cities. The Croats, however, remained under Frankish suzerainty.


From the beginning of the ninth century on our information about Dalmatia is more precise, and it is still often believed that the Christianization of the Croats only began seriously during this period, and that the conversion of the Croats was effected by Frankish missionaries, sent especially by the patriarchs of Aquileia, [78] the nearest Christian center in Frankish territory. The metropolitans, and later the patriarchs of Aquileia, extended their jurisdiction over Venetia, Istria, western Illyricum, Noricum, and Raetia Secunda in the fifth century, and then, after the destruction of Sirmium, as far as the frontiers of Pannonia and Savia. The barbarian invasions restricted their influence, but their missionary zeal may have been awakened at the beginning of the eighth century, when they were definitively reconciled with Rome; but their quarrels with their rivals of Grado seem to have consumed most of their energies.


In any event, we have no information concerning the missionary





activity of Aquileia among the Slovenes living between the Drava and the Adriatic coast, although Salzburg, which had inherited jurisdiction over Pannonia and Raetia, had developed considerable activity among the Slovenes of Carinthia. Only after Charlemagne had conquered Lombardy and Istria, or rather after his destruction of Avar power in 796, did the Patriarch Paulinus, at the request of Alcuin, [79] manifest an interest in missions among the Slavs. In spite of this, we have not learned of any results of Aquileia’s missions under Paulinus and his successor Ursus. Only after Charlemagne had definitely fixed the frontier between Salzburg and Aquileia on the Drava in 811, did Aquileia appear to be interested in missions among the Slovenes within its jurisdiction. [80] This seems to suggest that Aquileia could only have manifested an interest in Croatia after 803, when Charlemagne, at war with the Byzantines, had forced the Dalmatian Croats to accept Frankish supremacy.


In reality, Aquileia found easy access to the territory of the Pannonian Croats. Vojnomir, the prince of the Pannonian Croats, accepted baptism between the years 805 and 811. His successor Ljudevit was also a Christian. The work of Aquileian missionaries among the Croats was interrupted by the insurrection of Ljudevit in 819. The Frankish army was defeated, and the Dalmatian Croats were forced to recognize Ljudevit as their ruler after his victory over the army of their prince Borna, and even the Slovenes of Istria joined his realm. Only in 822 did the Franks succeed in forcing Ljudevit out of Dalmatia. In the next year he was assassinated, perhaps on the orders of Vladislav, successor to Borna. [81]


The rivalry between Aquileia and Grado was evident even during these events. Fortunatus, the Patriarch of Grado, supported Ljudevit, furnishing him with Italian specialists for the construction of his fortresses. After Ljudevit's defeat, Fortunatus left Grado and found refuge in Constantinople. This incident seems to reveal that Byzantium had not lost all support in Istria.


The fact that Borna remained faithful to the Franks indicates that Frankish influences had begun to penetrate into Dalmatian Croatia, as is shown by the spread of the cult of certain Frankish saints among the Croats. [82] These influences are especially traceable in the western part of Dalmatia.


On the other hand, the princes Mislav (about 835-845) and





Trpimir (845-864) entertained cordial relations with archbishops Justin and Peter I of Spalato. Trpimir, when introducing the Benedictines into his realm and building the first monastery in Croatia, addressed himself not to Aquileia or to other Frankish religious centers, but to Peter, the archbishop of Split, with the request that he supply him with the necessary silver for the making of sacred vases. Giving thanks for this service, Trpimir not only confirmed the donations made to the archbishop by his father Mislav, but considerably increased them. [83]


In his deed confirming the donations, Trpimir quotes a passage from a letter addressed to him by the archbishop asking for the confirmation of the donations. In this Peter I calls his see a metropolis over lands as far as the river Danube, almost over the whole Croat kingdom. [84] These words are often regarded as an interpolation from the tenth century when Spalato was seeking the recognition of its supremacy over the whole of Croatia. [85] From what we have seen, these words may be perfectly genuine. Spalato was the metropolis of Croatia, and the two rulers treated the archbishop as their metropolitan. This explains also why they did not think it necessary to have new dioceses erected in their realm. The bishops of the coastal cities were their hierarchs.


The main objection to this interpretation is the erection of a Croat bishopric in Nin (Nona). Its creation is often regarded as a result of the efforts of Frankish missionaries among the Croats. It is said to have been founded from Aquileia and to have been subject to the patriarchate. The problems connected with this foundation therefore need to be re-examined.


The erection of a bishopric in Nin was preceded by the construction of the Church of the Holy Cross, which was built by the Župan Godeslav between 780 and 800. However, even the construction of this first known Croatian sanctuary seems to be linked not with Aquileia but with Zara. M. M. Vasić, in comparing the architecture of this church with that of St. Vid (Vitus) at Zara, stated that the architecture of the church in Nin followed the pattern of that in Zara (now destroyed), which was older than that of Nin. [86]


He found a similarity between the pattern of the church in Zara and that of St. Catherine in Pulj (Pola), which dated from the sixth century. [87] This again shows the intimate connection of the Byzantine coastal cities with Istria.





The date of the foundation of the bishopric of Nin has not yet been clearly established. The document, by which in 892 the Croat prince Mutimir confirmed Peter II, archbishop of Split, in the possession of the Church of St. George in Putalj, is claimed by F. Sišić [88] to provide proof that the bishopric of Nin existed before 852. In this document Mutimir spoke of the dispute between Aldefred, bishop of Nin, and Peter II of Split, and the manner in which the quarrel is described [89] seems to suggest, according to Sišić, that the church in Putalj, which had belonged to the bishopric of Nin before 852, was given by Trpimir to Peter I of Split, but that after the death of Peter I about 860 it was again claimed by Nin.


This interpretation, although suggestive, can be questioned. It is not clear from Trpimir's description whether Nin had reclaimed possession of the church after Peter Ts death, or whether the church had been in the possession of the bishopric of Nin before it had been donated to Split by Trpimir in 852. Although the words with which Aldefred defended his rights, suggest that at the time of the complaint he was in possession of the disputed church and its property, the bishopric of Nin could have come into possession of it upon the death of Peter I, or on another occasion.


Such an occasion occurred in 887, when Theodosius, bishop of Nin, was elected archbishop of Split. During his episcopacy, the properties of both dioceses were in his possession until his death. His successor in Nin, Aldefred, may have taken possession of the church, pretending that Trpimir's donation was meant only for the lifetime of Peter I. [90] This supposition explains more clearly why the dispute started in 892 and not earlier, for thirty-two years had passed since the death of Peter I. We conclude therefore that this document can hardly be used as proof that the bishopric of Nin already existed before 852.


Only one official document is extant to indicate the existence of this bishopric—the fragment of a letter from Nicholas I to the clergy and people of Nin. [91] In it, the pope defends his rights to erect bishoprics. To stress this, he points out that not even basilicas can be consecrated without papal authorization.


It should be noted that the letter is addressed not to the bishop of the city, but to its clergy and people. This suggests that when the letter was sent Nin had no bishop, which could mean that





the pope was announcing to the clergy and people of Nin his intention of erecting a bishopric in their city. The reason why the pope stressed his exclusive right to found a bishopric is also easily understandable. In Nicholas’ time, the influence of the Frankish clergy in Croatia must have been considerable, and Aquileia may already have considered the possibility of creating a bishopric in Croatia, to be subject to itself. The patriarch of Aquileia may have thought that, because of the work of his missionaries in that area, he had a right to harvest the results. Therefore, the pope thought it necessary to stress that it was his exclusive privilege to erect new bishoprics.


Could Pope Nicholas have conceived this idea at that time? The most favorable moment was the year 860. The letter [92] sent in September of that year to Emperor Michael III, in which he expressed his suspicions concerning the legitimacy of Photius’ elevation to the patriarchal throne, indicates that the pope was very much concerned about regaining jurisdiction over the whole of Illyricum, which the papacy had lost in 732. He requested Michael to restore to him his right, and enumerated all those provinces which had been detached from the Roman patriarchate. The struggle over Illyricum started with this request.


We must not forget that Dalmatia was always under Roman jurisdiction. The pope could not accept the loss of a part of it to a see under Frankish influence. In order to prevent the danger, he founded the bishopric of Nin and subordinated it directly to Rome. The foundation of this bishopric, most probably in 860, marked the first success of the papacy over the expansion of the jurisdiction of Frankish hierarchy in territories which had been directly subject to Rome. It was a warning indicating that Rome would extend its claims to other lands which had been part of the former Illyricum. [93]


The fact that the first Croatian bishopric was erected not near Split but in the neighborhood of Zara, nearer to the Frankish border, cannot be invoked as proof that Frankish missionaries were mainly responsible for the preaching of the Gospel to the Croats. [94] It is true that Split claimed the inheritance of Salona and the ecclesiastical leadership of the coastal cities and of Croatia, but the political leadership under Byzantine supremacy belonged to Zara, [95] and Nin [96] was, at the beginning of the ninth century,





the residence of Prince Višeslav, considered to be the first known Christian Croat prince.


The fact that Nicholas subordinated the new bishopric not to Spalato but directly to Rome can be explained by the apprehensions harbored by the pope at that time, concerning his relations with Byzantium. The bishoprics of the coastal cities, although under Roman jurisdiction, were under Byzantine supremacy. By subordinating the new bishopric directly to Rome, Nicholas issued a warning not only to the Franks but also to Spalato, in case ecclesiastical relations between Rome and Byzantium should deteriorate with the opening of the antiphotian offensive. Spalato may have resented this, and if so, it would explain why, in 945, when the reorganization of the Croatian bishoprics was under way during the famous Spalatan synod, the archbishop requested and obtained the suppression of the first national Croatian bishopric in Nin.


Nicholas was correct in foreseeing a danger to papal interests from the complicated political affairs of Dalmatian Croatia by supporting the claims of Zdeslav, son of Trpimir, who, deprived of the succession by Domagoj, had found refuge in Constantinople. The bishops of the coastal cities seem not only to have supported Zdeslav, but also to have recognized the authority of the patriarch of Constantinople. The situation was saved for Rome by Theodosius, the bishop-elect of Nin, and by the Croat aristocracy, which did not like the supremacy of a foreign power. The revolt, led by Branimir, was successful and Zdeslav was killed (879).


Theodosius and Branimir informed the pope, and John VIII expressed his relief and thanks in his letters. He addressed a long missive also to the Church of Spalato whose see appears to have been vacant in 879, and to the Dalmatian bishops, exhorting them to return to the Roman obedience following the example of their predecessors. He exhorted the clergy and people of Spalato to elect an archbishop who would come to Rome where he would obtain the pallium “more pristino,” which implied according to the custom of his predecessors.


The pope’s exhortation seems to have had its effect, the more so as Byzantine political intervention had met with a reverse. The elected archbishop of Spalato might have been Marinus who, however, seems to have asked Walpertus of Aquileia to consecrate





him. But he was succeeded by Theodosius of Nin, who held both dioceses initially but, after the protest of Stephen V, retained the archbishopric of Spalato and obtained the pallium from Rome. [97]


*  *  *


According to information given us by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Heraclius made the first attempt to Christianize the Serbs. After enumerating the parts of modern Serbia occupied by five Slavic tribes, he says, [98]


“and since these countries had been made desolate by the Avars (for they had expelled from those parts the Romans who now live in Dalmatia and Dyrrhachium), therefore the Emperor settled these same Serbs in these countries, and they were subject to the Emperor of the Romans; and the Emperor brought eiders from Rome and baptized them and taught them fairly to perform the works of piety and expounded to them the faith of the Christians."


Constantine regards all Slavic tribes in ancient Praevalis and Epirus—the Zachlumians, Tribunians, Diodetians, Narentans— as Serbs. This is not exact. Even these tribes were liberated from the Avars by the Croats who lived among them. Only later, thanks to the expansion of the Serbs, did they recognize their supremacy and come to be called Serbians. [99]


We have no reason to doubt Heraclius’ initiative in the Christianization of these Slavic tribes and of the Serbians. Their country was a part of Western Illyricum and was under Roman jurisdiction. Unfortunately, we have almost no information as to the progress of this work. The nearest center whence Christianity could have begun to spread to the Slavic tribes was Ragusa, founded by the Christian refugees from the Roman city of Epidaurum, destroyed by the Avars during the seventh century. It is most probable that the episcopal see was transferred from Epidaurum to Ragusa when the refugees began to reorganize their life. Because Epidaurum seems to have depended on Salona, even the re-established episcopal see of Ragusa depended on Spalato—heir of Salona. There exists a false Bull, attributed to Pope Zacharias (741-752), [100] which pretends that the pope had promoted Andrew, bishop of Epidaurum, to metropolitan rank with jurisdiction over the kingdoms of Zachlumlja, Serbia, and





Travunje, with bishoprics in Cattaro (Kotor) Risan, Budva, Bar, Ulcinj, Skadar, Drivasto, and Pulati. The forgery was made in the eleventh century and was invoked by the bishops of Ragusa from the end of the twelfth century to support their claim to metropolitan status.


The only documents which confirm the existence of a bishopric at Ragusa (Dubrovnik) are the Acts of the Spalatan synods of 925 and 928. [101] At that time Ragusa was subject to the archbishops of Spalato. It can be supposed, however, that an operation was enacted here similar to that accomplished in Spalato, on the initiative of Heraclius, about the year 640. The bishopric of Epidaurum was transferred to Ragusa, whence the first knowledge of Christianity could have penetrated to the Slavs of ancient Praevalis.


All this shows us that the first attempts to Christianize the Slavs in Dalmatia and in Western Illyricum were made by the Byzantines in the seventh century in close collaboration with Rome. The first missionaries came from the Latin cities of Byzantine Dalmatia. There was yet another power, with Latin traditions but under Byzantine supremacy, which was interested in strengthening Christianity in Dalmatia and in sending missionaries to the Slavs—namely, Venice. One of the Slavic tribes—the Narentans, who settled on the river Neretva and along the coast—were dangerous pirates, interfering in the commerce of Venice with Southern Italy. Before 830, the Venetians sent a maritime expedition against them with some success, for, as we learn from John the Deacon, and from the Chronicle of Dandolus, [102] the Narentans sent an envoy to Doge John asking for peace. At the exhortation of the Doge the pagan envoy accepted baptism. This was the first success of Venetian missionaries amongst the Slavs. However, it must have been very limited, because both sources complain that in 834-835 the Narentans captured a Venetian commercial delegation returning from Benevento.


So it happened that Dalmatia and the western part of Illyricum were pacified to a great extent and thus, even when the territory of the Croats could not be kept under Byzantine supremacy, no immediate danger threatened Byzantium from that side. But there still remained the problem of those Slavs who had invaded the eastern part of Illyricum—Epirus Nova, Epirus Vetus, Macedonia, Thessaly, Hellas, the Peloponnesus, Moesia, Dacia, and





even Thrace. The Byzantines called the regions occupied by them simply Sclavinia. Various emperors tried in vain to stop, or push back, this wave. Justinian II (685-695) was partially successful in 688. He took thirty thousand prisoners on his expedition and moved them to Asia Minor. The transplantation of these Slavs permitted the Byzantines to bring the Slavs of Macedonia into a more dependent position. In order to strengthen his position in Central Greece, Justinian II raised Hellas to thema with a strategos, a military and civil governor. Leontius, strategos of Hellas, is mentioned in 695. This was the second thema to have been created in Europe aside from that of Thrace, which was elevated most probably by Constantine IV (668-685) against the Bulgarian and Slavic menace. [103]


The invasions created great havoc in Byzantine ecclesiastical organization even in these provinces. In Epirus Nova only Dyrrhachium survived the onslaught and her bishopric never seems to have been vacant. Nicephorus, bishop of Dyrrhachium, was present at the Seventh Oecumenical Council (787). [104] He is the only bishop from the end of the eighth century whose name is known to us. His immediate successor is not recorded, but we learn of a bishop of Dyrrhachium, who must have lived during the first half of the ninth century, from a letter of St. Theodore of Studios. [105] Theodore calls him Anthony, and in another letter he speaks of an archbishop of Dyrrhachium, but does not name him. [106] Most probably he has the same person in mind. In the Life of St. Theodora of Thessalonica we also find mentioned an archbishop of Dyrrhachium called Anthony, [107] who is said to be Theodora’s brother. According to the Life, he must have governed the Church of Dyrrhachium up to the time that Leo V, the Armenian, reopened the iconoclastic controversy (815). Anthony was ordered to appear before the emperor and to profess iconoclasm, but he defended the cult of images in a long discourse. The emperor exiled him, but, unfortunately, the author of the Life does not tell us where. The ban was lifted by Michael II (820—829), but Anthony was ordered to live privately. He may have returned to Dyrrhachium, but we are not told when, nor for how long. After the victory of the iconodoules, he was elected metropolitan of Thessalonica but died soon after, on November 2, 843.


It is most probable that Theodore’s Anthony is identical with the brother of St. Theodora. They both lived in the same period





and were opponents of iconoclasm. It is strange that both documents refer to an archbishop in Dyrrhachium and not a metropolitan. Dyrrhachium had been a metropolis with seven suffragan bishops, all of whom disappeared, with the possible exception of Aulindos, during the Avar and Slavic invasions into Epirus. However, this does not mean that the metropolitan of Dyrrhachium, left alone in Epirus, became archbishop, without suffragans, under the direct jurisdiction of the patriarch. It would seem rather that the metropolitans were sometimes called archbishops. In the Acts of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, for example, even metropolitans are called quite simply bishops. The existence of a metropolitan in Dyrrhachium at the beginning of the ninth century shows us that ecclesiastical life in the provinces was becoming normal. This normalization was effected also in the political organization. St. Theodore, in one of his letters, speaks of a chartularius in Dyrrhachium whose name was Thomas. [108] The office of chartularius was held by one of the most prominent members on the staff of a strategos. [109] The chartularius of a thema, with the title of hypatos, or consular order of the Senate, was in charge of the military rolls, and was responsible for the payment of officers and men, and, as such, was responsible also to the central government. The reference to such an officer in Dyrrhachium by Theodore shows that Epirus was reorganized into a thema with a strategos in Dyrrhachium. Since Theodore died in 826, this reorganization must have been effected before that date, and his letter seems to have been written during the reign of Michael II (820—829) after the iconoclastic persecution subsided. Theodore’s other letter, [110] in which he speaks of the monk Dionysius who, although absolved by the archbishop of Dyrrhachium from his lapse into the iconoclastic heresy, asked for absolution from Theodore, should also be dated in the reign of Michael, probably from 821, when the exiled bishop Anthony may have returned to his see.


However, this does not mean that the thema of Dyrrhachium was founded by Michael. Nicephorus, bishop of the city, spoke of himself, in the Acts of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, as bishop of the province of Dyrrhachium of the eparchy of Illyricum. [111] This could mean that he still considered himself the head of the ecclesiastical province of Epirus which had been destroyed, but since he uses the word “chora” of Dyrrhachium, part of the Illyrian eparchy, this may indicate that in 787 Dyrrhachium and





its surrounding territory were regarded as an autonomous part of Illyricum, governed probably by an archon. Archontes of Dyrrhachium are mentioned in the Tacticon of Uspenskij. [112] This first attempt at the reorganization of the province can be attributed to the Empress Irene (780-802) who in 783 sent the logothete Stauracius to fight against the Slavs in Hellas. [113] His victory was of great importance in the pacification of the Slavs and in the reorganization of the European provinces of the Empire. It made possible the foundation of the Macedonian thema (between 789 and 802), and it seems that even the thema of the Peloponnesus was created after this success, the see of the strategos being in Corinth. [114]


Having this in mind, it is unlikely that Irene and Stauracius would overlook the need to strengthen the position of the Empire in the Epirus region where Dyrrhachium was the most important outpost. It is thus quite possible that the archontia of Dyrrhachium was founded at the same time as the themata of Macedonia and of the Peloponnesus. We could, of course, attribute this first attempt at stabilizing the situation in Epirus to Constantine IV (668-685) who is said to have introduced or, at least, strengthened the system of themata in Asia Minor and in Thrace, leaving the rest of the European provinces under the prefecture of Illyricum. [115] Anyhow, in 787, judging from the Acts of the Seventh Oecumenical Council, Dyrrhachium was still a part of the eparchy of Illyricum, although probably governed by an archon.


It is not easy to determine when Dyrrhachium and its territory was promoted to a thema with a strategos. [116] If it did not take place in the last years of the reign of Irene, we might attribute its foundation to the Emperor Nicephorus (802-811), or to Leo V (813-820). Nicephorus can also be considered the founder of the thema of Cephalonia. Its existence at the end of the eighth century does not seem warranted, [117] but we know that in 809 the strategos of Cephalonia, Paul, commanded the Byzantine naval operations against Pepin in Venice. [118] The thema must thus have existed before this date. Not only the danger from the Arabs, but also the expansion of the Franks in Istria and in the Adriatic had forced the Byzantines to build a solid naval base in the Adriatic. This could only be Cephalonia.


One is tempted to date the establishment of the thema of Dyrrhachium, not during the reign of Leo V, but rather at the





same time as that of Cephalonia. Dyrrhachium was an important outpost, not only against Slavic expansion, but also against Arab and Frankish attempts to gain a foothold in Dalmatia. It is thus quite probable that the archontia of Dyrrhachium was elevated to a thema by Nicephorus at the beginning of the ninth century. The reorganization of the thema of Dyrrhachium was very important, not only in strengthening the Byzantine rule over ancient Praevalis and Epirus Nova with its important coastal region, but also for the re-Christianization of the coastal region and of both Slavs and Illyrians who occupied most of this territory.


The former province of Praevalis, now a part of Montenegro, was invaded by the Avars and Slavs at the end of the sixth and the beginning of the seventh centuries. Its ecclesiastical organization, of course, perished with the destruction of its main cities— Scodra, Dioclea, and Elissus (Lissus). The last mention of a bishop of Elissus, John, is from 592 and of a metropolitan in Scodra from 602. [119] The Christian population was scattered, but many had found refuge in the fortress and city of Decatera (Kotor), as is testified by Constantine Porphyrogenitus in his De administrando imperio, [120] and in other city fortresses on the coast which had survived the first onslaught. This may have been the case with the ancient city of Licinium (Ulcinj), which seems to have reorganized its municipal life in the eighth century. Others may have followed the last bishop of Lissus, who took refuge in Italy and was transferred by Gregory the Great to an Italian bishopric.


These remnants of the Roman population seem to have found a new chance for survival during the reign of Heraclius (610-641), who had settled the Serbs in the devastated regions. Some kind of arrangement concerning the newcomers and the natives must have been made by the emperor, because Porphyrogenitus attributes to him the Christianization of the new inhabitants by priests called from Rome. This may also mean that the emperor helped the remaining Latin Christians to reorganize their religious life. One may presume that the refugees started to return and to build new cities in their former home. It appears that in this way the city of Antibari (Bar), opposite the Italian city of Bari, was founded, probably by the refugees from Doclea (Dioclea). Old Olcinium (Licinium, Italian Dulcigno, Slavic Ulcinj), which was situated between Antibari and the river Bojana, was also revived,





along with Elissus (Lissus, Alessio, Ljes) on the Drin, near Scodra (Skadar). Budua (Budva), between Kotor and Ulcinj, must also have been resurrected from ruins in the seventh century. Many of its native inhabitants might have survived the invasion, because the old city was built on an island which was not connected to the mainland until years later. Even the Roman Risinium (Risan) seems to have found new inhabitants.


As for Budua and Risan, the two cities must have been rehabilitated, at least during the last half of the eighth century, because the Arabs, when attacking the littoral of ancient Praevalis in 840, thought it worthwhile to pillage and destroy them. Heraclius must also have made a change in the political organization of the former Praevalis with its remnant of Christian population. It became a part of Byzantine Dalmatia. Only much later did Dyrrhachium start claiming part of it. The Slavic tribes continued to be ruled by their own Župans who were nominally under Byzantine suzerainty.


We do not know if Heraclius had taken any measures for the reorganization of the ecclesiastical order in the former province. The only bishopric which may have survived the catastrophe was that of Cataro (Kotor). However, its existence from the sixth century is not well documented. The only evidence is the signature of bishop Victor who assisted at the synod of Salona in 530. He called himself bishop ecclesiae Martaritanae. As such a city is unknown in the provinces under the jurisdiction of Salona, one may be entitled to read Cateritanae or Decateritanae which means Catara (Kotor). [121] It is probable that, if there was a bishopric in Catara before the invasion, it may have survived the onslaught with the city. Heraclius can be supposed to have stabilized its existence, or if there was no bishopric, to have established it. It is also quite possible that Heraclius had transferred the bishopric of Doclea (Dioclea) to Antibari (Bar), where the refugees from the destroyed city seem to have gathered. This could explain why later (see below, p. 256) the bishops of Antibari, claiming a metropolitan status, pretended to be successors of the bishops of Dioclea. They were wrongly giving to Dioclea a metropolitan status, since Scodra and not Dioclea had been a metropolis in Praevalis.


It could also be presumed that the Italian hierarchy, especially the bishops of Bari, the capital of Byzantine Apulia, were especially





interested in the re-Christianization of the coastal regions on the other side of the Adria. It is probably from this region that Heraclius obtained the Roman priests for the Christianization of the Serbs as it is mentioned by Porphyrogenitus. Thanks to this help coming from Byzantine Apulia, and perhaps also to new immigrants from that province and the return of refugees, the remnants of the Latin population in former Praevalis were able to reorganize their municipal life during the eighth century.


Their vital interest was to live in peace with the Župans of the Slavic tribes in their neighborhood. This may have been facilitated by the fact that the newcomers were, at least nominally, subjects of Byzantium. The second stage of their reorganization were attempts at the Christianization of the Slavs. In reality the Christianization of the Serbian tribes did start from the remnants of the Latin population of these cities.


Thanks to recent archaeological discoveries made by Serbian specialists in modern Montenegro, at least some traces of this activity can be detected in the ruins of a number of churches dating from the beginning of the ninth century. Latin inscriptions found there testify to the Latin character of their founders. Let us enumerate the most important discoveries shedding more light on these first attempts. [122]


In 809, during the episcopacy of John in Kotor, a wealthy citizen named Andreaci built a church of St. Tryphun which became a cathedral church. Andreaci also built a sepulchral chapel of St. Mary for himself. The church of St. Peter in Bijela, between Risan (Risinium) and Dračevica, also dates from the beginning of the ninth century (between 797 and 809). Some reliefs and a Latin inscription mentioning a bishop—probably John—are preserved. Pre-Romanesque reliefs were also found near the Gothic Church of St. Andrew near Zelenića. It seems to indicate that an ecclesiastical building had existed there, probably in the ninth century. In the former župa of Ston the pre-Romanesque church of St. Michael also testifies to the missionary activity of the Latins which must have continued during the reign of the Nemanjids. The constructions of the churches of St. Jurij in Janina on Peljašac and of St. Ivan in Lopud must be dated to the beginning of the ninth century. This seems confirmed by remnants of reliefs and of a Latin inscription by the founder. A most interesting example of ecclesiastical architecture is revealed by the foundations of a





church discovered in Ošije dating from the ninth century. It was a centralized structure in the form of eight half-circular apses. In Dioclea the Church of Our Lady should also be dated in the beginning of the ninth century. It was constructed on the ruins of an early Christian basilica. The same can be said of the Church of St. Peter in Bijela. The Church of St. Stephen in Ragusa, built about 815, also replaced a destroyed early Christian basilica.


In ancient Licinium (Olcinium, Ulcinj) the foundations of a small church with an apse were excavated. The Latin inscriptions on the ciborium indicate that the church was built between 813 and 820. Northwest of Bar (Antibari) in the ruins of the Benedictine Abbey St. Mary of Ratac, which had flourished during the early Middle Ages, two reliefs have been found which should be dated to the beginning of the ninth century. This does not mean that a Benedictine abbey had existed there at such an early period, but the find presupposes the existence of an ecclesiastical structure from that time.


A Latin inscription found on the ruins of the Church of Our Lady in Budua testifies that this church was constructed in 840. Later the Benedictines built around this church their Abbey, called Sancta Maria de Punta. The Church of St. Stephen in Vrano viči probably should also be dated in the beginning of the ninth century. Near Tival was a Church of SS. Sergius, Nicholas, and Demetrius, founded by the deacon Alberinus, son of Bergolinus. According to the Latin inscription, the foundation should be dated in the second half of the ninth century. The cruciform Church of St. Thomas in Prčanj probably was also constructed in the ninth century.


As for the founders of these churches, most of them were built by wealthy citizens of the Latin cities. Bishop John of Cattaro seems to have been particularly active in the Christianization of the Serbs. He is probably the founder of the church in Bijala. The founder of the church in Vranoviči calls himself Churog and his wife Dana. His family name seems to be Turkic or rather Avar. If it is so, we have here an evidence that some of the Avars had advanced as far as the Latin littoral and been absorbed by the native populations. If the name of his wife Dana should be regarded as Slavic, we can see in this case an indication that Slavic elements were penetrating into the Latin cities already at that early period. There is no trace in these foundations of the





Germanic practice of proprietary churches, as we have also stated concerning the early Croat Christian life.


Although remaining Latin and under the ecclesiastical supremacy of Rome, the citizens were loyal to Byzantium. This is confirmed by the construction dates of two of the churches. The founder of the Church of St. Tryphun in Cattaro mentions the name of the Emperor Nicephorus I (802-811), and the ciborium of the church in Ulcinj bears the date “Sub temporibus domini nostri PIS PERPETUO AGUSTI DN LEO ET DN CONSTAN..." This could mean only the reign of Leo V and of his son Constantine (813-820).


Also, the names of the founders and of the saints venerated in the Latin cities present a mixture of Latin and Greek hagiology: John, Thomas, Tryphun, Sergius, Nicholas, Demetrius, Stephen, George, Michael, Spirido (Greek Spiridon), and Guzma (Slavic form of Latin Cosma, but a female name). The locality of Sustiepan near Herzeg-Novog reveals the same Slavization of the name Sanctus as we have noticed in Croatian Dalmatia.


Besides the Latin coastal cities, Dyrrhachium was also active in the Christianization of the Slavs residing in the territory of its thema. The first results of the Greek missionaries are revealed by the Notitia of bishoprics, compiled under Leo the Wise (886—912). [123] Nearest to the Latin coastal cities was the bishopric of Lissus (Ljes) which had disappeared at the end of the sixth century. The bishopric was restored in the ninth century and, although it had been under the jurisdiction of Rome before the city’s destruction, it was now subject to its new founder, the metropolitan of Dyrrhachium. The same Notitia enumerates three more bishoprics revived during the ninth century by Dyrrhachium, that of Kroja, of Stephaniakia, and that of Chunabia. The latter bishopric is certainly a new foundation in a region of the thema occupied predominantly by Slavs.


The metropolitans of Dyrrhachium continued their missionary activity during the tenth century. Moreover, they tried to extend their jurisdiction also over the bishoprics of the Latin cities. A Notitia dating from the eleventh century enumerates, besides the four bishoprics indicated in the Notitia of Leo the Wise, the following Latin bishoprics: Dioclea, Scutari (Skadar), Drivasto, Pulati, and Antibari. In addition to these sees, Dyrrhachium counted six more: Glavinitsa (or Acrokeraunia), Auloneia (Valona),





Lychnidos (probably Olcinium, Dulcigno), Tsernikios (perhaps in the region of Čerminika, near El-basan), Pulcheriopolis (perhaps Belgrad, modern Berat), and Graditzios. Glavinitsa, Tsernikios, and Graditzios recall Slavic names and may be regarded as new foundations in regions inhabited by a Slavic population. [124] The Notitia reveals that great changes had been made in the re-Christianization of the thema of Dyrrhachium and in the coastal regions since the reign of Leo the Wise. The Notitia dating from his reign, as we have seen, counted only four bishoprics under Dyrrhachium.


It is difficult to say when these new sees were created. [125] We can attribute this lively activity of re-Christianization to the initiative of the Emperor Basil I. Constantine Porphyrogenitus gives us interesting information on how this happened. [126] He says that the Roman Empire “through the sloth and inexperience of those who then governed it and especially in the time of Michael from Amorion, the Lisper (820-829), had declined to the verge of total extinction, the inhabitants of the cities of Dalmatia became independent, subject neither to the Emperor or the Romans nor to anybody else, the natives of those parts, the Croats and Serbs and Zachlumites, Terbunites and Kanalites and Diocletians and the Pagani, shook off the reins of the empire of the Romans and became self-governing and independent, subject to none.” Constantine here enumerates the Slavic tribes which inhabited South Dalmatia, former Praevalis, and Epirus Nova. They were governed, “not by princes but by Župans”; moreover, the majority of these Slavs were not even baptized, and remained unbaptized for a long time. “But in the time of Basil, the Christ-loving Emperor, they sent diplomatic agents, beseeching him that those of them who were unbaptized might receive baptism and that they might be, as they had originally been, subject to the empire of the Romans; and that glorious Emperor, of blessed memory, gave ear to them and sent out an imperial agent and priests with him and baptized all of them that were unbaptized of the aforesaid nations, and after baptizing them he then appointed for them princes whom they themselves approved and chose, from the family which they themselves loved and favored.” Then Constantine reports that even the pagan Narentans who had remained unbaptized, “sent to the same glorious Emperor and begged that they too might be baptized, and he sent and baptized them.”





Constantine oversimplifies the history of the conversion and subjection of the Slavs of this part of Eastern Illyricum, presenting it as effected by the initiative of the Slavs themselves. The actual motivation is not so simple. It was rather the attack by the Arabs on Dalmatia and on the thema of Dyrrhachium in 866 which brought about these events. In the same chapter Constantine describes how the Arabs from Africa appeared in the Adriatic with thirty-six ships, taking the cities of Budva and Rossa. The fortress of Decatero (Kotor) seems to have been left untouched, but the lower city was taken. The Arabs then blockaded Ragusa for fifteen months; the citizens asked for help, and Basil sent a fleet of one hundred ships to the Adriatic Sea. The appearance of such an imposing armada not only forced the Arabs to abandon their blockade of Ragusa but persuaded the Slavic Župans to seek friendship with the emperor.


Constantine admits that although the majority of the Slavs were unbaptized, there were a few who had been converted previously. These may have been the remnants of the first efforts of Christianization made by Heraclius, and of further attempts made by the Latin coastal cities in the eighth century and in the first half of the ninth century. Of course, this activity increased after the naval demonstration and the initiative taken by Basil to bring the Slavic tribes closer to the Empire and to the Church.


However, the Latin missionaries must have penetrated even earlier into the land which was to be Serbia. The first Christian names in the dynasty of the Višeslavić ruling over Raška, the cradle of the Serbians, are Stephen, son of Mutimir, and Peter, son of Gojnik. Both names were very familiar in the coastal cities and the župas of ancient Praevalis. Peter is said by Porphyrogenitus to have ruled between 892 and 897. He may have been baptized about 874. Stephen with his brother Bran defeated Vladimir, the son of the Bulgarian Khagan Boris in 860. [127] Stephen may have been born and baptized between 830 and 840. These are the years when the missionary activity of the Latin citizens had started to flourish. It is thus quite possible that their activity had reached even the ruling family of Raška. There are some other indications showing that the central region of Serbia started to be Christianized about the end of the first half of the ninth century. Already Mutimir who, with his brothers Strojmir and Gojnik, had succeeded Vlastimir (about 830-860) appears to have





been Christian. [128] This seems to be confirmed by a letter sent to Mutimir by Pope John VIII in 873. [129] The pope exhorted him to join with his people the metropolis of Pannonia, as a new metropolitan (Methodius; see below, p. 150) had been ordained by the pope. The letter is interesting, as it reveals the policy of the papacy concerning ancient Ulyricum and the religious situation in the lands forming the cradle of the Serbians, later called Raška. Thus, exhorting the prince to join the diocese of Pannonia as his predecessors had done, the pope reveals a poor knowledge of the situation in this part of the ancient Illyricum. He regards Mutimir and his people as ancient inhabitants of these parts, ignoring the fact that they were new arrivals who had replaced the autochthonous inhabitants. All of Mutimir’s predecessors—Višeslav, Radoslav, Prosigoj, and Vlastimir—were pagans. When the pope castigates the prince, saying that his land is full of priests coming from everywhere, with no superiors, and conducting religious services contrary to the canon laws, he thus discloses the religious situation in Serbian lands. It was a missionary territory, not yet ecclesiastically organized. The words seem to reveal also the rivalry between the missionaries. This is quite understandable, because Greek priests from the metropolis of Dyrrhachium were as zealous in their Christianizing missions as the Latins, who came from the coastal cities and perhaps also from Dalmatian and Pannonian Croatia.


The presence of Latin missionaries in the cradle of the Serbian race is further revealed by the early religious architecture of this region. Some of the early churches of this region recall the architecture characteristic of the Latin coastal cities, thus revealing the influence of early missionaries who had begun their work in the ninth century and continued it in the tenth. [130] For example, the Church of St. Peter in Ras is circular in plan, with the cupola resting on pendentives, and with an apse. It is dated from the ninth to the beginning of the tenth century. Other churches of a very early period can also be found. In Stará Pavlica there is a cruciform church, and although that of Zaton is ruined, it nevertheless reveals a threefold plan. [131] This region has not yet been completely examined by Serbian archaeologists. It is possible that, in the future, the ruins of other churches will be found to document further the activities of the Latin missionaries from the coastal cities who—on orders from the Emperor Basil I and supported





by the strategos of Dyrrhachium and the emperor’s envoys —penetrated into the land which is now modern Serbia and Christianized the inhabitants. Constantine describes Basil’s rule over the Župans in the years that followed as being a lenient one.


In the Roman province of Epirus Vetus, the ecclesiastical situation was normal during the reign of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604), as we learn from his letter to the bishops of Epirus. [132] The province had suffered heavily during the time of the invasions, but the see of Nicopolis survived. We find the name of Anastos of Nicopolis in the Acts of the Seventh Council, which are also signed by Philip of Corcyra. [133] These appear to be the only two sees which survived up to the ninth century without interruption. It is possible that the bishopric of Hadrianopolis of the ancient province also survived, since we find the name of Cosmas of that see in the Acts of the Council of 870. [134]


Nicopolis must have suffered further setbacks during the eighth century. It lost the metropolitan see, which was transferred to Naupactos, but we do not know when this occurred. The list of bishoprics composed during the reign of Leo the Wise (886-911) does not even mention a bishopric of Nicopolis among the eight suffragans of Naupactos. [135] Even the political reorganization of this part of Epirus seems to have been effected later than that of Dyrrhachium. This thema is listed in the Tacticon of Uspenskij (compiled between 845 and 856), while the thema of Nicopolis does not appear. However, this does not mean that the thema of Nicopolis could not have been established during the regency of Theodora. Her prime minister Theoctistus was very much preoccupied with the situation in Hellas and the Peloponnesus, where the Slavs continued to be restless. In 842 he sent a military expedition into the Peloponnesus and succeeded in subjugating the rebellious Slavic tribes. In order to strengthen the Byzantine position in these provinces, he transplanted those fierce warriors, the Mardaites, from Syria, to the themata of the Peloponnesus and Cephalonia and also into the territory of ancient Epirus Vetus. By this manoeuvre he hoped to prevent the danger of an Arab invasion and to keep the Slavic tribes subjugated. [136] It is, thus, quite possible that it was Theoctistus who had created the thema of Nicopolis. This could have happened after 853. If the Tacticon of Uspenskij was composed in this year, or some year after this date, this would explain why the thema of Nicopolis was not





listed by its author. But the thema must have been established during the ninth century, for we have a seal belonging to the strategos Leo from this period, and one of Constantine’s, also from the ninth or the beginning of the tenth century. [137] The ecclesiastical reorganization of this territory followed the political stabilization. The metropolis was established in Naupactos. Among its eight suffragans who are enumerated in the list of Leo the Wise, we find the see of Bounditsa. The name seems to reveal that it was founded for the new Slavic converts, perhaps by Michael III, or more probably by Basil I, as a result of the definite Christianization of the Slavs settled in the ancient province of Epirus.


The reorganization of Macedonia was ended by the foundation of the thema of Thessalonica. This seems to have been effected during the reign of Theophilus (829-842), since a strategos of Thessalonica is already mentioned in 836. [138] This reorganization was very important because the Slavs were settled in the very neighborhood of the city. The region of the river Strymon was a part of the thema, governed most probably by an archon. This area was almost completely inhabited by Slavic tribes and was elevated to a thema at the end of the ninth century. [139] The land between the mountains of Rhodope and the Aegean Sea was called Boleron [140] and seems to have enjoyed a kind of autonomous status under the strategos of Strymon. This meant the end of the political reorganization of the European provinces.


This reorganization was followed by a complete reorganization of the episcopal sees in these provinces. This was accomplished at the beginning of the ninth century, as is revealed in the list of bishoprics compiled by a certain Basil. [141] Only then could serious attempts at the Christianization of the Slavs in Greece be made. The superior culture which these Slavs had found in their new home attracted them, and facilitated their Christianization. Unfortunately, we have only two documents which give information as to the progress of this work among the Slavs, namely, the list of bishops who attended the union councils of 879-880, and the list of bishoprics compiled during the reign of Leo the Wise (886-912). Among the bishops who attended the Union Council was Agathon, bishop of Morava, Damaius, bishop of Ezero, and Peter of Drugubitia. [142] All three sees were established in Slavic territory. Moravia can only be a small city at the confluence of the rivers Morava and Danube, in modern Serbia. [143] The Ezerites





were a Slavic tribe, the majority of whom founded settlements in the Peloponnesus. Some of them must have stayed in Hellas. The Drugubites settled in Macedonia.


During the reign of Leo the Wise [144] there is listed among the bishoprics of Hellas, under the metropolitan of Larissa, a bishopric of the Ezerites. The same catalogue lists under Thessalonica two Slavic dioceses, that of the Drugubites and that of the Serbs. The latter bishopric must have been erected for the White Serbs, who had preferred to stay there after they had reached the Byzantine borders under Heraclius. Constantine Porphyrogenitus says that the majority of them were not satisfied with the territory allotted to them by the emperor, and that they left to return home (which is now Saxony), but were persuaded by the strategos of Singidunum (Belgrade) to settle with the Croats, fighting against the Avars. [145] It seems thus that some of them preferred to stay in the territory given to them by the emperor.


The conversion of the Slavs in Macedonia must have started after their defeat by Justinian II. The catalogue of Leo the Wise lists two bishoprics with Slavic names under the metropolitan of Philippi, that of Velikia and that of the Smoljans. Other bishoprics listed in the same catalogue—that of the Ljutici, of Velikia, of Ioannitsa, and of Dramitsa in Thrace (under Philippopolis)—also had Slavic populations.


Among the bishoprics of Greece itself, [146] we do not find names which can be regarded with certainty as Slavic, but the complete reorganization of its ecclesiastical provinces indicates that the Christianization of the Slavs settled there must have been completed by the ninth century.


In this respect, it seems that the Slavs who most resisted Christian influence were the Milingues and Ezerites in the Peloponnesus. Only in the fourteenth century was a special bishopric for the Ezerites founded. This can be explained by the fact that those tribes had settled in the mountainous region of Taygetus. [147] The Christianization of the Slavs transported by Justinian II to Asia Minor seems to have been more rapid. A catalogue of bishoprics dating from the seventh century lists among the sees of Bithynia at least one whose name is Slavic, that of the Gordoserbs. [148]


Of course, the Christianization of the Slavs in Greek territory meant also their assimilation and Hellenization. This process had already begun in the seventh century. On several occasions the





Byzantines used Slavic troops in their armies, and the names of a few Slavic generals are known. [149] The most famous of these was Thomas, a Slav from Asia Minor, [150] who led the revolution against the iconoclastic Emperor Michael II (820-829). The Patriarch Nicetas of Constantinople (766-780) was also of Slavic origin, and the domestic staff of the Emperor Michael III included a certain Damian, of Slavic extraction. [151] This assimilation and Hellenization was a natural process. The Slavs in the purely Greek provinces did not form large, homogeneous groups, and they were unable to resist the attraction of a higher cultural environment. The situation was different in the lands of future Serbia, fully occupied by Slavic tribes. But, at least, after their conversion, these Slavs were won over to the Byzantine religious tradition and civilization. These events took place between 867 and 874. [152]


Byzantine influence would probably also have reached the Slavs between the Danube and the Black Sea, if their resistance had not been strengthened by the appearance of the Bulgars. The pressure of a new Asiatic invader, the Khazars, a Turkic tribe, had forced Asparuch, the son of Kuvrat, to move south, and about the year 679 he appeared with his horsemen on the Danube. [153] He was welcomed by the Slavs, who inhabited this region, and thus the foundations of a new Slavic state, Bulgaria, were laid. The Bulgars, not being numerous, were gradually Slavicized. Political disorders in Byzantium helped the successors of Asparuch to consolidate their new political structure to such an extent that not even Constantine V (741-775), despite eight successful campaigns, was able to destroy this menace.


From that time on, Bulgaria presented a difficult problem for the Byzantines. Reciprocal hostility made the penetration of Christianity into Bulgaria very difficult. Khagan Krum (c. 802-815) reorganized Bulgaria and became the most dangerous foe of Byzantium. Two emperors lost their thrones through disastrous expeditions against Bulgaria. Nicephorus (802-811) was killed on the battlefield, and his skull, mounted in silver, later served as a cup for the khagan at solemn banquets. The emperor’s son Stauracius, severely wounded, escaped, but died soon after. The Emperor Michael I (811-813) was deposed after a calamitous battle. Krum extended his sway over more Byzantine territory, destroyed Serdica (the modern Sofia), and caused great havoc in Byzantine territory, devastating the land and destroying the





cities. He died suddenly while facing the walls of Constantinople with his armies. Only when his successor Omortag (814-831) had concluded peace with Leo the Armenian did the situation become more propitious for the penetration of Byzantine influence into Bulgaria. [154]


The native Greek population had not completely disappeared after the Slavs took possession of the land. These groups formed the first Christian islands in the pagan sea. They were augmented by numerous war prisoners, whom Krum had brought from various areas after his victorious expeditions. There were many priests among them, even bishops, from the cities taken by the khagan. They worked not only among their compatriots, but also among the Slavic population. They must have been successful, because Omortag, seeing that Christianity was taking firmer root in his lands, began to persecute the Christians. He is said to have put to death four bishops and three hundred and seventy-seven prisoners. Their memory was celebrated yearly in Constantinople on January 22, and their martyrdom is vividly described in the Greek Synaxarium. [155]


This report is completed by the Menologium of Basil II [156] and in a Slavic prologue to the translation of the Menologium. [157] According to this information, the first persecutors of the Christians were the boyars Tsok and Ditzeng, who seem to have risen to power after the death of Krum, before his son Omortag was able to assert his succession. It was Ditzeng who ordered the mutilation of Bishop Manuel’s arms. Tsok is said to have invited all Christian prisoners—“officers, priests, deacons, and laymen”— to abjure their faith. After their refusal to do so, he had some of them decapitated and others killed after prolonged torture. The chief victim of this persecution was the metropolitan of Adrianople, Manuel, who had already been maimed by the boyar Ditzeng. The Continuator of Theophanes [158] confirms that Manuel died as a martyr under Omortag.


This indicates that the most determined enemies of Christianity were the Bulgar boyars. The Slavic population was more responsive to Christian propaganda emanating from the original Christians who had survived invasion, and with whom the Slavic lower and middle classes were mingling.


The discovery of a short office in honor of the Bulgarian martyrs in the Vatican Greek manuscript 2008 throws more light on





the persecution of the Christians by Omortag. [159] It was written by an hymnographer called Joseph. Two authors of this name lived in the ninth century, one called Joseph of Studios, who died in 832, and Joseph the Hymnographer, who flourished in the second half of the ninth century. [160] One is inclined to attribute this office to Joseph of Studios, because his monastery seems to have been particularly interested in the history of the Bulgarian martyrs. We shall see that St. Theodore of Studios spoke of this persecution in his Little Catechism. At any rate, the office was composed by an author of the ninth century who used a contemporary source for his hymn.


The hymnographer mentions all the names listed in the Synaxarium, with the exception of Sisinius. Instead of Marinus, he speaks of Martinus. This may be the same person. He pays special homage to a layman named Peter, to his wife Mary, and their children. About twenty-five other names listed by the hymnographer were currently used by the Byzantines of this period. The martyr Arabios was probably one of the Arabs in the army of Nicephoros mentioned by Theophanes. [161] Artabazos and Bardanes were members of the Armenian colony which is known to have existed in the region of Adrianopolis. [162] More interesting are four other names: Aspher and Cupergo recall strangely those of Aspar, Asparuch, Isperich, and Kuber, used by the proto-Bulgars. [163] This should indicate that the Christian missionaries had converted even some of the Bulgar boyars. Two other names, Lubomeros and Chotiameros, are evidently Slavic, i.e. Lubomir and Hotomir. This, again, is an indication that the Byzantine missionaries were successful among the Slavic population. The two martyrs mentioned by the hymnographer were most probably men of some standing, perhaps Župans of Slavic tribes under the Bulgars. [164]


The episode related by Theodore of Studios [165] must have taken place during the reign of Omortag. He describes how the Christians in Bulgaria were forced to break the Church’s regulation on fasting and were made to eat meat in Lent. Fourteen souls refused to do so. One of them was killed by the khagan, and his wife and children sold into slavery. But even this example did not induce the rest to break the rule of fasting, and they were all executed.


In spite of their hostility to the Christian religion, the Khagans were unable to resist the attraction of the higher culture of their





enemies. Krum was not particularly anti-Christian, and he appreciated the services rendered to the State by the Greek artisans among the prisoners and the remainder of the Christian population. Omortag also availed himself of their services to a large extent. Inscriptions recording his deeds were composed in Greek and inscribed in stone by the Greeks. He even accepted the Byzantine title of “ruler (archon) established by God.” [166] His palace in Pliska reveals a marked relationship to Slavic structures in Byzantium. [167]


Despite the fact that he was at peace with the Byzantines, Omortag looked unfavorably on the spread of Christianity among the Slavic population, for he had to reckon with the strongly anti-Christian attitude of the non-Slavic boyars. It was only natural that the prisoners and the Christian subjects should consider the Byzantine emperor as their liberator and religious leader. The khagan thus felt he had sufficient reason to doubt their loyalty. His persecution was dictated more by political than by religious motives.


Theophylactus, archibishop of Ochrid, [168] relates an interesting story which illustrates the missionary zeal of the Greek prisoners. One of them, Cinamon, who was particularly able, was given by Krum to his son Omortag. The latter became very much attached to him, but because Cinamon refused to renounce his faith, he was imprisoned by Omortag.


Omortag was survived by his sons, Enravotas, Svinitse, and Malamir. The Slavic names of the last two, although Enravotas seems to have had a Slavic name also, that of Vojna, make it clear that the Slavic element had penetrated into the khagan’s court and his family. Omortag favored those Slavic nobles who were inclined to foster his autocratic tendencies, rather than the non-Slavic boyars. But, after his death, the boyars demonstrated their influence in state affairs. Neither Enravotas nor Svinitse was given the succession. The boyars, fearing that the elder sons of Omortag would continue their father’s policy, chose the youngest son, Malamir (831-836), as khagan, hoping that they would more easily be able to control him. In fact, during Malamir’s reign, one of them, Isboulos, seems to have exercised the greatest influence on state affairs.


It is possible that there was also another reason which influenced the boyars in their choice of the inexperienced youngest





son. Enravotas and Svinitse may have been suspected of being less hostile to the Greeks and their religious beliefs than was their father. This happened to be true concerning Enravotas. Theophylactus says in his story that the latter asked his brother to release Cinamon from prison and to give him to him as a slave. Cinamon must have been a very able man and a zealous Christian. Enravotas not only became very attached to him, but Cinamon even succeeded in converting the prince to Christianity.


Malamir was alarmed when he learned of his brothers conversion. The pagan boyars saw it as a betrayal of the national cause. The conversion of a prince would certainly encourage the Christians in Bulgaria. In vain Malamir exhorted his brother to renounce the Christian faith, and finally he felt obliged to put him to death. [169]


*  *  *


The mistrust of the Bulgarian rulers toward Christianity is quite understandable. Thus far they knew Christianity only in the Byzantine form and were constantly more or less hostile towards the emperor, who was regarded as the head of orthodox Christians. This hostile attitude could be tempered only if the Bulgars were in touch with other Christians free from any influence of the Byzantine emperor in religious matters. This became possible only when the Bulgarian rulers began to expand their realm toward the West, where they came into contact with the Christian Franks.


The defection of the Slavs of the Timok Valley and of the Abodrites to the north of the Danube, who looked to the Franks for help, and the affirmation of Frankish rule over the whole of Dalmatian and Pannonian Croatia after the defeat of Ljudevit, induced Omortag to negotiate with the Franks in order to limit the frontiers of their realms. The evasive answers given by Louis the Pious to the embassies of 824, 825, and 826 [170] exasperated Omortag, and in 827 he invaded Pannonian Croatia, which was under Frankish sovereignty, and forced the Slavs to accept his authority. [171] Louis the German tried in vain to reverse the situation in 828. The war dragged on under Malamir (831-836), and was only concluded under Presjam (836-852) to the advantage of the Bulgars. The Peace of Paderborn (845) [172] left the region





of Sirmium, and a part of Pannonian Croatia, in Bulgarian possession.


Malamir remained on good terms with the ranks until the end of his reign. About 839 the Bulgarian army, led by Presjam, [173] whom the Serbs called khagan, invaded the Serbian territory governed by Vlastimir under nominal Byzantine sovereignty, but had to withdraw without success. [174]


A successor of Presjam, Boris, son of Svinitse, renewed the treaty of 845 when he sent an embassy in 852 to Louis the German, who held a Reichstag in Mainz. [175] But according to the Annales Bertiniani, [176] he seems to have soon afterwards attacked the territory of Louis the German. The attack appears to have been supported unsuccessfully by some of the Slavs. This can only have affected Pannonian Croatia, then under Frankish sovereignty.


Prudentius, the author of the second part of the Annales Bertiniani, chronicled certain rumors, according to which Boris’ attack against the territory under Louis the German’s sovereignty was made at Frankish instigation. If this is true, the initiative could have come only from Charles the Bald, then king of Western Francia, which would indicate that Boris was on rather intimate terms with the Franks. The Slavs who supported Boris’ attack cannot be the Moravians, as was thought by Zlatarski [177] and Bury, [178] for they were too well known to the annalist, and he would hardly have called them simply “Sclavi”, as we read in his report. [179] He could only have had in mind a local Slavic tribe discontented with Frankish supremacy. Theophylactus of Ochrida [180] probably had this defeat in mind when writing that at the beginning of Boris’ reign a Frankish cloud had covered the whole of Bulgaria.


Boris tried his luck also in Dalmatian Croatia, which he was able to reach through the territory of Sirmium, which formed part of his realm. The Croatian prince Trpimir (845-864) successfully defended his lands with the result that, as Constantine Porphyrogenitus stresses, the Croats were never subjugated by the Bulgarian forces. He can mean only Dalmatian Croatia, because Pannonian Croatia was for some time under Bulgarian supremacy during the reign of Omortag prior to the conclusion of the treaty of Paderborn, probably from 827 to 838. [181] Boris was also unsuccessful in his attempt to annex Serbia, probably in 860.





Prince Mutimir, with his brothers Strojmir and Gojnik, defeated the army of Boris, and even captured his son, Vladimir, together with twelve boyars. [182] This incident ended amicably, and from that time on Boris continued on good terms with Mutimir and the Serbs.


By concluding peace with the Serbs, Boris at least secured the boundary of his realm in the southwest. He extended his kingdom to the mountains of Albania and to the Pindus, including all the lands around Lake Ochrid and Lake Prespa. He was now free to pay more attention to events developing in the northeastern part of his vast territory.





1. For details see L. Niederle, Slovanské starožitnosti, vol. 2 (Prague, 1906-1910), devoted to the Southern Slavs; F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome au IXe siècle (Paris, 1926), p. 3 ff.; idem, The Slavs, their Early History and Civilization (Boston, 1956), pp. 3-45; on the Antes, cf. idem, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe (London, 1949), pp. 279—286, 309-311. A thorough review of the problems connected with the earliest history of the Slavs, with bibliographical references, is given by B. Zástěrová, “Hlavní problémy z počátku dějin Slovanských národů” (Alain Problems Concerning the Primitive History of the Slavic Nations), Vznik a počátky Slovanů, ed. J. Eisner (Prague, 1956), vol. 1, pp. 28-83. For complete bibliography on the origins and migration of the Slavs, see J. Eisner, Rukovět' slovanské archeologie (Handbook of Slavic Archaeology) (Prague, 1965), and H. Lowmianski, Początki Polski (Origins of Poland) (Warsaw, 1963), vol. 1, pp. 31-97; (Origin of the Slavs), vol. 2, p. 7 ff. (Migration, Origin of Croats, Huns, Avars, and the Slavs.


2. For details, cf. L. Hauptmann, “Les rapports des Byzantins avec les Slaves et les Avars pendant la seconde moitié du VIe siècle,” Byzantion, 4 (1927-1928), pp. 137-170; H. Preidel, “Avaren und Slaven,” Südostdeutsche Forschungen, 11 (1946-1952), pp. 33-45; P. Lemerle, “Invasions et migrations dans les Balkans depuis la fin de l’époque romaine jusqu’au VIIIe siècle,” Revue historique, 7S (1954), pp. 265308; G. Labuda, “Chronologie des guerres de Byzance contre les Avars et les Slaves à la fin du VIe siècle,” Byzantinoslavica, 11 (1950), pp. 167-173; A. Kollautz, “Die Awaren,” Saeculum, 5 (1954), pp. 129-178; B. Zástěrová, “Avaři a Slované,” Vznik a počátky Slovanů, ed. }. Eisner, 2 (Prague, 1958), pp. 19-54 (review of modern works on Avars).


3. A. Alföldi, Der Untergang der Römerherrschaft in Pannonien (Berlin-Leipzig, 1924-1926), 2 vols.


4. See A. Bon, Le Péloponnèse byzantin jusqu’en 1204 (Paris, 1951), p. 15 ff., 48, 63. 71, 80, 102, 163.


5. M. Vasmer, Die Slaven in Griechenland (Berlin, 1941). Cf. also P. Charanis, "The Chronicle of Monemvasia and the Question of the Slavonic Settlements in Greece,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 5 (1950), pp. 139-166, with a more recent bibliography; P. Lemerle, “La Chronique improprement dite de Monemvasie: le contexte historique et légendaire,” Revue des études byzantines, 21 (1963), pp. 5-49.





6. Cf. Nicephorus, Historia syntomos, ed. C. de Boor (Teubner ed., 1880), pp. 12, 24; see S. Runciman, A History of the First Bulgarian Empire (London, 1930), pp. 11-16.


7. This is suggested by G. Vernadsky in his study, “The Beginning of the Czech State," Byzantion, 17 (1944-1945), p. 321.


8. The only reliable information on the revolt is given by Fredegar's Chronicle, book IV, chs. 48,68,75, ed. B. Krusch, MGH Ss Rer. Merov., 2 (Hanover, 1888), pp. 144, 154, 158. Cf. J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, The Fourth Book of the Chronicle of Fredegar (London-New York, 1960), pp. 39, 56, 63. Fredegar dates the assumption of the leadership by Samo as 623. For details, see G. Labuda, Pierwsze państwo Słowiańskie, państwo Samona (Poznań, 1949), p. 30 ff. A summary in French with critical remarks on Labuda's work is given by V. Chaloupecký in Byzantinoslavica, 11 (1952), pp. 223—239. Cf. also F. Dvornik, The Slavs, p. 60 ff. It is not impossible that Heraclius approached the Franks in this respect, although we have no evidence for it. Fredegar (ch. 62, ed. B. Krusch, p. 152; J. M. Wallace-Hadrill, p. 51) reports that in 629 “Servatus and Paternus, the ambassadors whom Dagobert had sent to the Emperor Heraclius, returned home with the news that they had made with him a treaty of perpetual peace.55 It was the first year of Dagobert's reign over the whole of Francia—from 623 to 629 he was king of Austrasia—and it could be assumed that the ambassadors were announcing the beginning of Dagobert's reign, but the mention of the conclusion of a treaty of friendship seems to indicate that there was something more in this sending of an embassy. The Avars were common enemies of the Franks and the Byzantines. It is not impossible that this was an answer to a previous move of Byzantine diplomacy. R. Barroux has little to say on this problem in his book, Dagobert, roi des Francs (Paris, 1938), p. 155 ff. Cf. also below, Ch. Ill, p. 74.


9. For details, see F. Dvornik, The Making of Central and Eastern Europe, p. 268 ff. G. Moravcsik, R. J. H. Jenkins, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio (Budapest, 1949), chs. 29, 30 (Croats), 32 (Serbs), p. 129 ff., 153 ff. I have given a new review of the problem in Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, 2, Commentary, ed. R. J. H. Jenkins (London, 1962), pp. 93100, 114-118 (Croats), 131-134 (Serbs).


10. De admin. imperio, ed. G. Moravcsik, R. J. H. Jenkins, ch. 131, p. 149.


11. Geschichte der Serben (Gotha, 1911), 1, p. 104.


12. On Illyricum, see F. Dvornik, Les Légendes de Constantin et de Méthode vues de Byzance (Prague, 1933), pp. 249-256.


13. See M. V. Anastos, “The Transfer of Illyricum, Calabria, and Sicily to the Jurisdiction of Constantinople in 732-33,55 Silloge Byzantina





in onore de S. G. Mercati (Rome, 1957), pp. 14—36, with more recent bibliography on Illyricum. On the early history of Illyricum see R. Rogošić, Veliki Ilirik (284-395) i njegova konečná dioba (396-437) (Zagreb, 1962), with a summary in Latin, pp. 209-217: De Illyrico toto (284-395) deque eius divisione (396-437).


14. I have discussed these problems in detail in my commentary on Constantine’s report in Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, 2, Commentary, p. 124 ff.


15. Historia Salonitana, publ. by F. Rački in Documenta spectantia ad historiam Slavorum meridionalium, 26 (Zagreb, 1894), ch. 11, p. 33.


16. For details see F. Balic, J. Bervaldi, Kronotaksa Solinskih biskupa, Kronotaksa spljetskih nadbiskupa (Zagreb, 1912-13), p. 116 ff.; F. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata (Zagreb, 1926), p. 290 ff.


17. Ch. Diehl, Etudes sur l’administration byzantine dans l’exarchat de Ravenne (Paris, 1888), pp. 3-23, 31-40, 81-92; L. M. Hartmann, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der byzantinischen Verwaltung in Italien (590-750) (Leipzig, 1889), pp. 1-28; F. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata, pp. 166-174.


18. Gregorii I papae Registrum epistolarum, ed. L. M. Hartmann, Registrum, II, ep. 23 (MGH Ep 1, p. 121).


19. Registrum, IV, ep. 20, MGH Ep 1, p. 254 ff.


20. Registrum, V, ep. 6, ibid., p. 286.


21. Registrum, VI, ep. 25, ibid., pp. 402-404.


22. Registrum, VIII, ep. 24, ibid., 2, p. 26.


23. Registrum, IX, ep. 157, ibid., 2, p. 155; Registrum, IX, ch. 158, ibid., 2, p. 159.


24. Registrum, IX, ep. 149, 151, 177, ibid., 2, pp. 150, 155, 156, 171 ff.


25. Registrum, IX, ep. 176, ibid., 2, p. 172.


26. Procopius, De hello gothico, III, 33, 40, ed. Bonn (1833), pp. 418, 450 (for years 549, 550); Menander, Historia, ed. Bonn (1829), ch. 31, p. 340 (for the year 519).


27. The Ostrogothic king Odoacer, after having conquered Dalmatia (482) detached it from the Italian prefecture, but incorporated it into his kingdom of Italy. Cf. E. Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, 2 (Bruges, 1949), pp. 50, 51. Cf. also B. Saria, “Dalmatien als spätantike Provinz,” Pauly’s Realencyclopedie, Supplement Band 8 (1956), p. 24 ff.


28. Ibid., p. 801.


29. Ph. Jaffé, Regesta pontificum romanorum, 2d edition by W. Wattenbach (Leipzig, 1885), vol. 1, no. 1052, p. 138.


30. E. Stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, pp. 424, 802. It is to be regretted that Stein did not pay any attention to the correspondence of Gregory the Great concerning Archbishop Maximus of Salona. He would probably have seen that Gregory’s letter to Jobinus of Illyricum





does not prove his opinion. J. Ferluga, Vizantiska uprava u Dalmaciji (Beograd, 1957), p. 27 ff., followed Stein in dating the creation of the proconsulate of Dalmatia from the period of Justinian I. D. Mandić in his Rasprave i prilozi iz stare hrvatske povjesti (Essays and Annexes Concerning Old Croat History) (Rome, 1963), does not know Steins and Ferluga's works, but shows convincingly (pp. 32-50) that Dalmatia was part of the exarchate of Ravenna. See the English translation of his arguments in Byzantion, 34 (1964), pp. 347-374 under the title “Dalmatia in the Exarchate of Ravenna from the Middle of the VI until the Middle of the VII Century.” Cf. also my remark in the paper “Byzantium, Rome, the Franks, and the Christianization of the Southern Slavs,” Cyrillo-Methodiana (Cologne, Graz, 1964), pp. 89, 93.


31. J. Ferluga, Vizantiska uprava, p. 36.


32. See the excerpt from his writing in Constantine Porphyrogenitus' De Ceremoniis, I, ed. Bonn, p. 388.


33. There is yet another letter of Gregory of March 591, addressed to Malchus, bishop of Dalmatia, which seems to attest this interest (Registrum, I, ep. 36, MGH Ep 1, p. 49). The pope discloses to Malchus that John, the “consularius” of the exarch George, has some controversies with Stephen, bishop of Scodra. Malchus is invited to investigate the complaints of John and to execute the decisions of the council of bishops.


34. Book 2, ed. Bonn (1840), p. 57; ed. A. Pertusi, Costantino Porfirogenito De Thematibus, Studi e Testi, 160 (1952), pp. 40-44, 94.


35. Justinian's Novella 131 of March 18, 545, ed. R. Scholl, W. Kroll (Corpus Iuriscivilis, vol. 3) (Berlin, 1928), p. 655.


36. E. Schwartz, Vigiliusbriefe. Zur Kirchenpolitik Justinians, Sitzungsberichte der bayer. Akademie, Phil. hist. Kl. (1940), pp. 19, 21, perhaps also p. 11, if we accept Schwartz' reading Dalmatarum instead of aliarum.


37. Liber contra Mocianum, PL, 67, col. 864.


38. Liber Pontificalis, ed. L. Duchesne (Paris, 1886, 1892), 1, pp. 279, 323, 325.


39. Historia Salonitana Maior, ch. 10, ed. F. Rački, p. 33, ed. N. Klaić (Beograd, Serbian Academy, 1967), p. 93.


40. Cf. G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine Empire (New Brunswick, 1969, rev. ed.), p. 106.


41. D. Mandić, Rasprave i prilozi, p. 178 ff., would like to date this rescript in the reign of Constans II and his son, the Emperor Constantine IV, who reigned between 654 and 668. This can hardly be accepted. These incidents seem to have happened soon after the refugees had settled in Diocletian's palace.


42. Liber Pontificalis, vol. 1, p. 330.





43. L. Karaman, “Sarkofag Ivana Ravenjanina,” Starinar, ser. III 3 (Beograd, 1925), p. 43: Hic requiescit fragilis et inutilis Iohannis pecator harchi episcopus. Cf. also G. Novak, Povijest Spittal (The History of Split) (Split, 1957), 1, pp. 43-46.


44. “O počecima srednjevjekovnog Splita do godina 800” (The Early Period of Medieval Spalato to the Year 800), Seria Hoffilleriana, Vjesnik hrvatsko-archeol. društva (Zagreb, 1940), pp. 419-436, with a résumé in German.


45. M. Barada, “Nadvratnik VII stoletia iz kaštel Sućurea” (A Church Portal of the VIIth Century in the Castle of Sućurac), ibid., pp. 401-418. The inscription is only partly preserved: aspice hunc opus miro quo decore facto, quo Domino iubante pre . . . Barada’s dating is more reliable than Karaman's. The latter seems to have been influenced by the opinion of modern Croat historians who dated the Christianization of the Croats in the eighth and ninth centuries.


46. Historia Salonitana, ch. 11, p. 33, ed. N. Klaić, p. 94.


47. The discovery was made on February 24, 1958, and was announced in Slobodna Dalmacija (Spalato, February 26, 1958), p. 5. I am using the photos and the description given by D. Mandić in Rasprave i prilozi, p. 8 ff,, 16—18. The exterior sarcophagus dates from the fourth century, and is adorned with a relief of the Good Shepherd. It bears an inscription from 1103 stating that in this year Archbishop Crescentius had ordered the inspection of the relics of St. Domnius which were contained therein. The relics are in a small leaden container of early Christian character. The container lay in another sarcophagus of white marble shaped from the pedestal of a monument in honor of the Emperor Trajan in Spalato. It was probably used in the transfer of the relics to Spalato. It bears the following inscription: “Hic requiescit corpus beati Domnii Salonitani archiepiscopi discipuli sancti Petri apostolorum principis translatum ab Salona in Spalatum a Joanne eiusdem sedis archipresule.”


48. This was also my opinion in my commentary on Porphyrogenitus’ work, Const. Porphyrogen. De admin, imp., 2, ed. R. J. H. Jenkins, Commentary, p. 109. The Commentary was written before 1958. Of course, Domnius was not a disciple of St. Peter. See the bibliography on this legend in my Commentary, p. 109.


49. Cf. V. Laffarini, “Un’iscrizione Toreellana del sec. VII,” Atti Istituto Veneto sc. left, e arti, 73 (1914), p. 2 ff.


50. Paulus Diaconus, Historia Langobardorum, IV, 44, MGH, ser. Lang., p. 134 ff. Cf. D. Mandić, Razprave i prilozi, p. 11.


51. De admin, imp., ch. 30, ed. G. Moravesik, R. J. H. Jenkins, p. 142.


52. Mansi, II, col. 294; PL. 87, cols. 1224 ff. Cf. my commentary to De admin, imp., p. 126.





53. S. Sakać, “Ugovor pape Agatona i Hrvata proti navalnom ratu,” Crotia sacra, 1 (1931), pp. 1-84, dates this “pact” in the years 679680, but he exaggerates its importance.


54. This observation has already been made by J. Markwart, Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streifzüge (Leipzig, 1903), p. XVII.


55. It is true that the old catalogue of the bishops of Zara does not mention any name after Sabinianus (598) until that of Donatus (802). See N. Brunelli, Storia di Zara (Venice, 1913), 1, pp. 162, 163. But even F. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata, p. 286, admits that they are not reliable. However, C. F. Bianchi, Zara Christiana (Zara, 1877-1879), 1, pp. 33, 34, traced the existence of certain bishops in the seventh and eighth centuries. M. Barada, “Episcopus Chroatensis,” Croatia sacra, 1 (1931), pp. 164-172, thinks that the reorganization of the ecclesiastical situation in Dalmatia was carried out by Byzantium in the second half of the eighth century, after the loss of Ravenna to the Lombards.


56. F. Šišić, Priručnik izvora hrvatske historije (Enchiridion fontium historiae croaticae) (Zagreb, 1914), pp. 157-164.


57. Chronicon gradense, MGH Ss 7, pp. 44-45. Rački, Documenta, p. 235. Cf. also Chronicon Venetum (Altinate), MGH Ss 14, p. 13 ff. The patriarch of Aquileia took refuge in Grado after the occupation of northern Italy and of Aquileia by the Lombards. The patriarchal title for Aquileia first appears in 558-560 in a letter of Pope Pelagius I, Regesta pontificum Romanorum, Italia pontificia, ed. P. F. Kehr, 7 (Berlin, 1923), p. 20.


58. The metropolitan of old Aquileia refused to join his colleague of Grado, and also assumed the title of patriarch. In recognition of his submission, the Pope granted this title to the bishop of Grado. The patriarch of Aquileia, residing in Cividale, submitted to Rome about 700. From that time on the titularies of both seats were in constant dispute about the right of using the patriarchal title and the extent of their jurisdiction (see above, pp. 20, 21). Only in 1180 was a compromise reached according to which the titularies of both sees were permitted to use the title. Grado—Nova Aquileia—became the metropolis for the bishoprics of the Adriatic islands. From 1156 the patriarch of Grado resided in Venice, and in 1451 the patriarchate of Grado was abolished and the title given to the archbishop of Venice. The patriarchate of Aquileia was abolished in 1751. On the history of the patriarchate see W. Lenel, Venezianischistrische Studien (Strassburg, 1911); F. Heiler, Altkirchliche Autonomie und päpstlicher Zentralismus (Munich, 1941), pp. 108-112; H. Schmidinger, Patriarch und Landesherr (Graz, Cologne, 1954), pp. 1-11.


59. Ljetopis popa Dukljanina, ch. 9, ed. F. Šišić (Beograd, Zagreb, 1928), p. 302, ed. V. Mošin (Zagreb, 1950), p. 50.


60. G. Marini, I papiri diplomatici (Rome, 1805), p. 121. Cf. D.





Mandić, Razprave i prilogi, p. 90. The document is not clear. However, the donation of money for the redemption of captives seems to authorize its dating from this period. D. Mandić seems to exaggerate the importance of some of the documents published by Marini.


61. Historia Salonitana, ch. 13, ed. F. Rački, pp. 39, 40, ed. N. Klaić, p. 10.


62. I also expressed such an opinion in my book, Les Légendes de Constantin et Méthode vues de Byzance (Prague, 1933), p. 262 ff.


63. MGH Ep 6, pp. 438, 439. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Légendes, p. 265 ff.


64. See G. Parthey, Hieroclis Synecdemus et Notitiae graecae episcopatuum (Berlin, 1866); H. Gelzer, “Ungedruckte und wenig bekannte Bistümerverzeichnisse der orientalischen Kirche,” Byzant. Zeitschrift, I (1892), pp. 245-282; 2 (1893), pp. 22-72; idem, “Ungedruckte und ungenügend veröffentlichte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum,” Abhandlungen der bayer. Akad., phil. hist. Kl., 21 (1901), pp. 529-641.


65. This is confirmed by the Tacticon of the ninth century, published by Th. I. Uspenskij, Vizantijskaja tabel’ o rangach, Mémoires de l'Institut archéologique russe de Constantinople, 3 (Sofia, 1898), pp. 99—137; p. 124: Ὁ ἄρχων Δαλματίας. We know the name of the governor of Byzantine Dalmatia from about 820. Einhard, in his Annals, calls him Joannes praefectus provinciae illius, MGH Ss 1, pp. 207—208. The patriarch of Grado, Fortunatus, accused of having encouraged the revolt of Ljudevit and of sending him artisans and masons for the construction of fortresses, took refuge in Zara. After disclosing the reasons for his flight from Grado to the governor, John put him straight away on a boat sailing for Constantinople.


66. De admin. imp., chap. 30, ed. G. Moravcsik and R, J. H. Jenkins, p. 142. Cf. F. Dvornik, Commentary to De admin, imp., ed. R. J. H. Jenkins, pp. 116, 117.


67. Cf. B. Grafenauer, “Prilog kritici izvještaja Konst. Porfirogeneta,” Historicki Zbornik, 5 (1952), p. 31. In any event Constantine’s Illyricum cannot be identified with Noricum.


68. Cf. Mandić, Rasprave, pp. 70-73.


69. See F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome au IX’s. (Paris, 1926), p. 85 ff. We lack more precise information on the bishopric of Dyrrhachium.


70. Ljetopis popa Dukljanina, ch. 9, ed. Mošin, pp. 39-105, ed. F. Šišić, p. 30 ff. The meeting should have happened in the reign of a Pope called Stephen, and the representatives of the emperor are called John and Leo.


71. Mandić, Rasprave, p. 145 ff. He would like to date it under the reigns of the Croat Chief Budimir, Pope Stephen II (752-757), and the Emperor Constantine V. The report is, however, very confused. The Croat Chief is called Svetopelek, and there is talk of the activity of





St. Cyril in Croatia. This is certainly a reminder of the Moravian ruler Svatopluk and of the Cyrilo-Methodian mission in Moravia. Even the law book—Methodos or Methodius—which is said to have resulted from this meeting, reminds us strangely of the Nomocanon which St. Methodius had translated in Moravia, and which may have been known in Dalmatia after 880. The Croat historians date this meeting, if it really took place, at different periods. The safest date could be the year 882, proposed by F. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata, p. 387 ff. Cf. also V. Stefanie, “Tisuću i sto godina od moravske misije,” Slovo, 13 (Zagreb, 1963), pp. 1-42, especially pp. 37, 38.


72. F. Šišić, Povijest, pp. 308, 309.


73. Cf. P. Skok, Dolazak Slovena na Mediteran (Split, 1934), p. 143 ff.:

koludar, koludrica (Monk, nun) from the Greek kalogeros meaning venerable (monk), used in northern Dalmatia;

duvna (nun), from domina, used in the south;

žežinjati (fast), from jejunium, used as far as Tuzla in Bosnia;

oltar (altar);

kum (godfather) from compater;

koleda (Christmas songs) from calendas.


The cult of the patron saints of the coastal cities must also have spread very early to the Slavic population, as we see from the slavicization of their names by the people: Tripun (Triphon in Split), Dujam (Domnius in Trogir), Lovrec (Laurentius in Zadar), St. Krševan (Chrysogorus), St. Stošija (Anastasia). Cf. also P. Skok, “La terminologie chrétienne en slave: le parrain, la marraine et le filleul,” Revue des études slaves, 10 (1930), pp. 186-204.


74. C. Jireček, “Die Romanen in den Städten Dalmatiens während des Mittelalters,” Denkschriften der Akademie der Wissenschaften, Phil. hist. Kl., vol. 28 (Vienna, 1902), pp. 51-58. Cf. also J. Šetka, Hrvatska kńcanska terminologia (Zagreb, 1940, 1964, 1965).


75. Idem, “Das christliche Element in der topographischen Nomenclatur der Balkanländer,” Sitzungsberichte der Akad. Phil. hist. Kl. (Vienna, 1897), p. 20 ff. A similar development can be found in the former Epirus. The Albanians changed the word sanctus into sin, ibid., p. 18 ff. P. Skok, Slavenstvo i romanstvo na jadranskim otocima (Zagreb, 1950), p. 179, stresses that the prefix sut attached to combinations of the names of saints can be found mostly in the toponymy near the Adriatic sea where the Slavs were under the direct influence of the Latin Christian population. V. Putanec, in his study “Refleksi starodalmato-romanskog prodjeva sanctus u onomastici obalne Hrvatske,” Slovo, 13 (Zagreb, 1963), pp. 137-175, gives an index of names of saints with the prefix sut, sud, st, su, etc., derived from the word sanctus. He shows convincingly (pp. 156, 157) that the names with the prefix sut could have been formed only during the first period of the Christianization of the Croats, from the seventh century to the tenth. The slavic word sveti which was, in the prechristian period, an





attribute of pagan divinities, replaced the prefix sut only from the fifteenth century on. For the later period, see G. Novak, “The Slavonic-Latin Symbiosis in Dalmatia during the Middle Ages,” The Slavonic and East European Review, 32 (1953), pp. 1-28.


76. Annales Laurissenses, MGH Ss 1, p. 186, Einhardi Annales, ibid., p. 187. See F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome au IXe siècle (Paris, 1926), p. 46 ff.


77. Einhardi Annales, ibid., p. 193, Rački, Documenta, p. 310.


78. Cf. Šišic, Povijest, p. 308.


79. See Alcuin's letters, MGH Ep 4, pp. 104 (ep. 60), 139 (ep. 95), 140 (ep. 96), 142 (ep. 98). Paulinus also participated in the synod of 796, held by the Bavarian hierarchy “somewhere on the border of the river Danube” where questions concerning a rapid Christianization of the conquered territory after the defeat of Avars were discussed. MGH Cone 11/1, no. 20, pp. 173—176.


80. Cf. A. Kuhar, The Conversion of the Slovenes (New York, Washington, 1959), p. 101 ff.


81. For details, see F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome, p. 47 ff.


82. P. Skok, Dolazak, p. 143, quotes two words of Christian terminology which were derived from Aquileian Latin—

korizma (holy fast), an expression used in western Dalmatia, and

sutli, sutla (godfather, godmother), from the Aquileian term sanctulus. This latter word is used instead of kum in the Quarnero Islands which were nearest to Aquileian influence.


The patron saint of Aquileia, St. Hermagoras, was also venerated by the Slovenes as St. Mohor, and by the Croats as St. Mogor. Moreover, the cult of SS. Asellus, Martin, Martha, Marcella, and Lazarus, popular among the Franks, may have been introduced into western Croatia from Aquileia. It should, however, be pointed out that even Zara was in lively contact with Aquileia. Bishop Donatus is said to have transferred from Aquileia to Zara the relics of St, Chrysogonus and St Zoilus. See C. Jireček, Die Romanen, p. 52. The cult of some of these saints can be traced also in the Byzantine coastal cities. In Spalato, for example, was a church dedicated to St. Martin, built in the ninth century. A margo S. Martini is mentioned as being on a Venetian island by John the Deacon in his Chronicon Venetum, (MGH Ss 7), p. 16. A curtis S. Martini is also spoken of, ibid., p. 17. In 839 the Doge Peter concluded a peace treaty with the Croat Prince Mislav at this place, the location of which is unknown. Since the Duke sailed from there to the country of the Narentans, it must have been situated near the sea, not in Byzantine but in Croat territory. We can conclude from this that at the beginning of the ninth century the cult of St. Martin had penetrated also to the Croats. However, this cannot be quoted as an indication of Frankish influence since the place is far from the Frankish border, but rather Venetian or Dalmatian influence





should be admitted. This should make us more cautious in evaluating the influence of Aquileia in Croatia. Cf. also Barada, “Episcopus Croatensis,” Croatia sacra, 1 (1931), p. 173, and Mandić, Rasprave, pp. 116, 117.


83. Rački, Documenta, pp. 3-6. Mislav accorded to Justin a tithe from his property in Klis. The donation was made on the occasion of the consecration of the Church in Putalj, and certainly by Justin.


84. Rački, ibid., p. 4: “ac deinde ut in fatam matrem ecclesiasm, quae est metropolis usque ad ripam Danubii et pene per totum regnum Chroatorum.”


85. F. Šišić, Priručnik, p. 183 ff.


86. “Crkva sv. Krsta u Ninu,” Strena Buliciana (Zagreb-Split, 1921), pp. 449-456; idem, Architektura i skulptura u Dalmaciji (Belgrade, 1922), p. 7 ff. L. Jelić, who devoted a special study to this church in Nin, Dvorska kapela sv. Križa u Ninu, Djela Jugosl. Akad., vol. 29 (Zagreb, 1911), came to the conclusion that if the churches of Nin and Zara were not built by the same architect, they certainly belong to the same period, and their architects were of the same school. He found similar architectural features on the Adriatic Islands. He thinks that the Church of the Holy Cross was a kind of mausoleum of Godeslav and his family. The baptismal font, which according to its inscription was built by the priest John under the reign of Višeslav, testifies that the Christianization of the Croats was speeded up under the first known Croat Christian prince. The font, now in Venice, was used until 1746 in the episcopal church of Nin. See the inscriptions in F. Šišić, Priručnik, pp. 118-120.


87. Jelić, Dvorska kapela, p. 15, found that the inscription of Godeslav was made in the Franco-Gallic Latin alphabet. However, one cannot deduce from this that Nin was already at that time under the direct influence of Aquileia. A similar script may also have been used in Zara. The coastal cities, including Zara, were in active contact with Istria, especially during the period when Istria was under Byzantine supremacy. Latin was spoken and written in Istria as well as in Zara and other Byzantine coastal cities. Jelić himself stresses that the writing of the inscription on the baptismal font in Nin is very similar to that of an inscription of this period found in Zara.


88. Povijest Hrvata, p. 394 ff.


89. F. Rački, Documenta, No. 12, p. 15: Cum magnae inter salonitanum et nonensem praesulibus verterentur de quadam facta donatione a Tirpimiro piisimo duce, in iuris sanctae matris ecclesiae Domnii et Anastasii beatorum martyrum quandam mancipando ecclesiam sancti Georgii, quae sita est in Putalo videtur, contentiones dicente Petro spalatensium episcopo: “Hanc, quam dicitis ecclesiam donatam a praefato duce et privilegii statuto roboratam, in nostrae iuris ecclesiae sub





testimoniorum notitia mancipatam habemus.” Respondens Aldefreda nonensis ecclesiae praesul dicebat: “Non ita habetur, sed nostrae potius ecclesiae dominio detinetur, quoniam non in ecclesia sanctorum Domini et Anastasii, ut dicitur possidenda sed ipsius praesuli fruenda ad ternpus tradita est."


90. This suggestion has already been made by M. Barada in his study, “Episcopus Chroatensis,” Croatia sacra, 1 (1931), p. 173.


91. MGH Ep 6, p. 659: “Nicolaus episcopus clero et plebi Nonensis ecclesiae. Ecclesia, id est catholicorum collectio, quomodo sine apostolicae sedis instituetur nutu, quando iuxta sacra decreta nec ipsae debent absque praeceptione papae basilicae noviter construi, quae ipsam catholicorum intra semet amplecti catervam dinoscuntur?”


92. MGH Ep 6, pp. 433-439.


93. In my book, Les Légendes, p. 264 ff., I connected Nicholas’ letter to the clergy of Nin with his struggle for Illyricum. Impressed by Šišić’s arguments concerning the existence of the bishopric of Nin before 852, I admitted that it could have been founded by Aquileia, but placed under the direct jurisdiction of Rome by Nicholas. M. Barada, “Episcopus Croatensis,” pp. 180-181, advanced the idea that the bishopric was founded by Nicholas between 866 and 867 when the hierarchy of Byzantine Dalmatia sided with Photius. This is not warranted. The Photian affair could hardly have had repercussions in Dalmatia. The importance of the schism is often exaggerated. The year 860 appears to be much more logical. From 860 to 879, the see of Nin could have been occupied by at least two bishops. John VIII in his letter of 879 to Theodosius of Nin (MGH Ep 7, p. 153) mentions the fidelity of his predecessors to Rome. This letter may also be quoted in favor of our thesis that the see of Nin was founded by Rome; “Ad gremium sedis apostolicae unde antecessores tui divinae legis dogmata melliflua cum sacrae institutionis forma summique sacerdotis honorem sumpserunt... ”


94. As is stated by L. Karaman in his study, O počecima, p. 428, quoted above.


95. L. Karaman, O počecima, p. 430, assumed that Dalmatia had been made a Byzantine thema by the middle of the eighth century, because Zara was the residence of a Byzantine dux. However, dux is not a Latin translation of strategos, the head of a thema who had in his hand all administrative and military power, but of archon. This was a special title given to governors of certain territories called archontiai. The thema of Dalmatia was not founded before 842 and most probably only by Basil I. Cf. J. Ferluga, Vizantiska uprava u Dalmaciji, p. 47 ff. See my commentary in Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De adm. imp., vol. 2 (commentary), ed. Jenkins, p. 123.


96. We read in the Acts of the Synod of Spalato of 926 that before





the foundation of the bishopric, Nin was administered by an archipresbyter; F. Rački, Documenta, p, 195: “Nonnensis vero ecclesia non episcopum antiguitus sed archipraesbyterum sub (iuris) dictione episcopi habuisse dignoscitur.” Archpriests used to be sent to missionary lands by the Frankish hierarchy. The first known archpriest in Pannonia, Domenicus, who was instituted by Liupram of Salzburg, died about 859. He was succeeded by Swarnagal, Altfrid, and Rihpald. (Cf. A. Kuhar, The Conversion of the Slovenes, p. 73.) It is quite possible that the archpriest mentioned above was instituted by Aquileia which may have followed the same practice. If this were so, then we could understand better the intervention of Nicholas I in erecting a bishopric and putting it under his own direct jurisdiction. An archipresbyter could have been sent to Nin before 852. At least Peter I, Archbishop of Spalato, when declaring that his jurisdiction extended over territories as far as the Danube, added cautiously “et pene per totum regnum Chroatorum” (F. Rački, Documenta, p. 4). Was he conscious of the fact that Aquileia was claiming jurisdiction over the western part of Dalmatia? It appears that Aquileia did not relish the papal intervention. The Patriarch Walpertus is accused by Stephen V of having tried to recover his jurisdiction over Nin, when ordaining Theodosius, Bishop of Nin. Theodosius was sharply reprimanded for having been ordained by the patriarch (MGH Ep 7, p. 338). The pope was wrong in his accusation. John VIII said clearly in his letter of 881 or 882 to the Croatian Prince Branimir that he was sending Bishop Theodosius from Rome back to Croatia (ibid., p. 258). This could only mean that Theodosius, only a deacon and newly chosen as a bishop, went to Rome as the pope exhorted him (ibid., p. 153) in a letter sent June 7, 879, and was consecrated bishop by John VIII. It is, however, possible that Walpertus had ordained an archbishop of Spalato, perhaps Marinus, who seems to have died in 886. In any case Stephen V reprimanded Walpertus for this transgression (ibid., p. 346). This seems, at least, to show that Aquileia did not lose all interest in Dalmatia. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, p. 307 ff.; F. Balić, J. Bervaldi, Kronotaksa, p. 155 ff.


97. See the letters of John VIII in MGH Ep 7, pp. 153, 158, 258, the letters of Stephen V, ibid., pp. 338, 346. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, pp. 223, 229 If.


98. Const. Porphyr., De admin, imp., ch. 34, ed. G. Moravcsik, R. J. H. Jenkins, pp. 153-155.


99. Cf. my commentary in Const. Porph., De adrnin. Imper., vol. 2, p. 137 ff.


100. J. v. Pflugk-Hartung, Acta pontificum Romanorum inedita, 3 vols. (Stuttgart, 1881-1886), vol. 2, pp. 21, 22.





101. Rački, Documenta, pp. 191, 195. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, pp. 76, 77.


102. MGH Ss 7, p. 16 (John the Deacon); Dandolo, Chronicon Venetum, ed. Muratori, Script or es rerum italicarum, vol. 12, p. 172; Rački, Documenta, pp. 334, 335.


103. On Justinian II, cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, ibid., p. 13. On the foundation of the European themas; idem, Les Légendes, p. 4 ff. For further details on the establishment of the themas of Thrace, Macedonia, and Hellas, see P. Lemerle, Philippes et la Macedoine orientale à l'époque chrétienne et byzantine (Paris, 1945), Bibliothèque des Ecoles françaises d’Athènes et de Rome, vol. 158, p. 118 ff.


104. He was represented at the first session by the monk John, but assisted personally at other sessions. Mansi, XII, cols. 994, 1090; ZIII, cols. 61, 136, 366, 381.


105. PG, 99, cols. 1490,1492, 1493 (Epistolae, lib., II, 157).


106. PG, 99, col. 1632A.


107. Arsenij, Žitie i podvigi sv Theodory Solunskoj (Jurjev, 1899), p. 5. On the Life of Theodora, cf. Bibliotheca hagiographica graeca, ed. F. Halkin (Brussels, 1953), vol. 2, p. 273; H. G. Beck, Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reiche (Munich, 1959), pp. 563, 564.


108. PG, 99, col. 1492C.


109. J. B. Bury, The Imperial Administrative System in the Ninth Century (London, 1911), pp. 44, 45.


110. PG, 99, col. 1632A.


111. Mansi, XIII, col. 136.


112. Th. Uspenskij, Vizantijskaja tabel' o rangach, p. 124. These archontes are, however, local governors who also existed in the themata. Cf. J. Ferluga, “Niže vojno-administrativne jedinitsa tematskog uredjenja” (Military and Administrative Thematic Units of an Inferior Rank), Zbornik radova of the Serbian Academy, vol. 22 (1953), p. 88 ff. According to G. Ostrogorsky, “Taktikon Uspenskog i Taktikon Beneševića,” ibid., pp. 39-59, the Uspenski Tacticon was composed during the regency of Theodora (842-856), after the year 845 and before 856. The archontes of Dyrrhachium governed certainly also the Slavic tribes incorporated into the thema.


113. Theophanes, 6275, ed. Bonn, 1, p. 707, de Boor, 1, p. 456, Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome (Paris, 1926), pp. 42, 99.


114. On the establishment of the Macedonian thema, see P. Lemerle, Philippes et la Macédoine orientale, p. 122 ff. It was believed that the thema of Peloponnesus was established by the Emperor Nicephorus (802-811) after the defeat of the Slavs who attacked the city of Patras (805), and that the emperor detached the peninsula from the thema





of Hellas. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Légendes, p. 8. G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State (New Brunswick, 1969), p. 193, has shown, however, that the thema of Peloponnesus had already existed before 805, although a strategos of this thema is mentioned only in 812. Cf. also P. Charanis, “The Chronicle of Monemvasia and the Question of the Slavic Settlement in Greece,” DOF, 5 (1950), p. 147. See, for details, G. Ostrogorsky, “Postanak tema Helada i Peloponez” (Foundation of the Thema of Hellas and Peloponnesus), Zbornik radova of the Serbian Academy, vol. 21 (1952), pp. 64-77. On Hellas cf. also P. Charanis, “Hellas in the Greek Sources of the Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Centuries,” Late Classical and Medieval Studies in Honor of A. M. Friend, ed. K. Weitzmann (Princeton, 1955), pp. 161-177.


115. On the controversy concerning the introduction of the thematic system in Byzantium, see A. Pertusi, Costantino Porfirogenito de Thematibus (Città del Vaticano, 1952), Studi e Testi, vol. 160); G. Ostrogorsky, “Sur la date de la composition du livre des Thèmes en Asie Mineure,” Byzantion, 23 (1953), pp. 31-66; A. Pertusi, “Nuova ipotesi sull origine dei terni bizantini,” Aevum, 28 (1954), pp. 126-150; J. Karygannopulos, Die Entstehung der byzantinischen Themenordnung (Munich, 1959, Byzantinisches Archiv, vol. 10). Even if this system was already introduced by Heraclius, it is to be stressed that the existence of the four great themas of Asia Minor can be traced with certainty only during the reign of Constantine IV.


116. See A. Pertusi, Costantino Porfirogenito, pp. 93, 177, 178. See especially J. Ferluga, “Sur la date de la creation du thème de Dyrrhachium,” Actes du XIIe Congrès international d'études byzantines (Ochrid, 1964), vol. 2, pp. 83-92.


117. I was inclined to date the foundation of the thema of Cephalonia from the end of the eighth century, in my book Les Légendes, p. 12, on the basis of a lead seal published by B. A. Pančenko, “Katalog molivdovulov” (Catalogue of Lead Seals), in Izvjestija of the Russian Archaeological Institute in Constantinople, 13 (1908), p. 117. However, it seems that the reading and the date of this seal is not reliable, as was noted by G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, p. 193. The Emperor Theophilus seems to have strengthened the position of the Empire in the Peloponnesus and in Cephalonia, in order to prevent the Arabs from establishing themselves in the Peloponnesus where they would be able to win the support of the Slavs. But both themas were already in existence during his reign. Cf. Dvornik, Les Légendes, pp. 88, 89. Cf. also G. Ostrogorsky, “The Byzantine Background of the Moravian Mission,” DOP, 19 (1965), pp. 6-8.


118. Einhardi Annales, MGH Ss. 1, pp. 197, 198; Rački, Documenta, p. 312.





119. Gregorii M. Registrum, vol. 1, p. 132 ff., vol. 2, p. 358; cf. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, pp. 85, 238.


120. Chapter 29, ed. Moravcsik, Jenkins, p. 124.


121. Cf. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata, pp. 152, 171; idem, Priručnik, vol. 1, p. 160.


122. See the most recent detailed description of these discoveries in the publication Istorija Crne Gore (History of Montenegro) written by Serbian specialists (Titograd, 1967), especially chapters four and five, pp. 281-482: Od dolazka Slovena do kraja XII vjeka (From the Arrival of the Slavs to the Twelfth Century), by Jovan Kovačević. The author mastered well many archaeological, historical, and epigraphical problems connected with the new discoveries. Cf. also idem, “Srednjovekovni epigrafski spomenici Boka Kotorska” (Epigraphical Medieval Monuments of Boka Kotorska), Spomenik of the Serbian Akademy, 15 (1956), pp. 1-13; idem, “Na tragu književnosti južnog Primorja i Dukle” (Traces of Literary Activity—during the Tenth and Eleventh Centuries—in Dioclea and on Southern Adriatic Littoral), ibid., pp. 93-98.


123. H. Gelzer, “Ungedruckte und ungenügend veröffentlichte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum,” Abhandlungen der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1, CL, vol. 21 (Munich, 1901), pp. 557, 558.


124. G. Parthey, Hieroclis Synecdemus et Notitiae graecae episcopatuum (Berlin, 1866), Notitia 3, pp. 124, 125. On the names of the sees, cf. C. Jirecek’s remarks in the study, L. v. Thallóczy, C. Jirecek, “Zwei Urkunden aus Nordalbanien,” Archiv für slavische Philologie, 21 (1899), p. 80. He found the bishopric of Polati in a Notitia of 877. Notitia 10, Parthey, Hieroclis, has about the same order as Notitia 3. I was unable to verify what Jirecek says about a Notitia from 877. He seems to have been mistaken. See below, Chapter VI, p. 256, on the controversy between Dyrrhachium, Antibari, and Ragusa, concerning the jurisdiction over these bishoprics in the eleventh and twelfth centuries.


125. Cf. F. Dvornik, The Slavs, Their Early History and Civilization (Boston, 1958), pp. 165, 279, 280. Some scholars think that Bar-Antibari had become a bishopric in the ninth century because it is listed in a Notitia of this period. See “Antivaris” in Enciclopedia italiana, vol. 3 (1929), p. 538, and “Bar” in Enciklopedija Yugoslavie, vol. 1 (Zagreb, 1955), p. 359. In Enciclopedia catolica, vol. 1 (Città del Vaticano, 1948), p. 1510, the bishopric of Bar is dated from the eighth century, and is said to have been a suffragan see of Dyrrhachium. We have seen, however, that under Leo the Wise Dyrrhachium possessed only four suffragan sees and Bar was not among them. There may be some kind of misunderstanding. There is a bishopric of Baris in the





Byzantine Notitia composed by a certain Basil in the ninth century, but it is a bishopric of the eparchy of Hellespont with a metropolis in Cyzicus. Another bishopric of the same name is listed in the same catalogue under the metropolis of Antioch in Pisidia, in Asia Minor. See. H. Gelzer, Georgii Cyprii Descriptio orbis romani (Teubner, 1890), pp. 9, 22. The bishopric of Baris is listed also in the Notitia of Epiphanius from the seventh century, but only under the metropolis of Pisidian Antioch, not under the metropolis of Cyzicus. A bishopric of Baris reappears, however, under both metropolitans in the Notitia composed under the Emperor Leo the Wise (886-912). See H. Gelzer, Georgii Cypris, pp. 537, 541, 552.


126. De Administrando imperio, ch. 29, ed. Moravcsik, Jenkins, p. 129 ff.


127. J. Kovačević, in Istorija Crne Gore, pp. 354, 355.


128. Cf. Šišić, Povijest Hrvata, pp. 397, 398.


129. MGH Ep 7, p. 282.


130. Already G. Millet, in L'ancien art serbe, les églises (Paris, 1919), p. 16, stressed the cultural and economic influence of the Latin coastal cities on the interior of future Serbia. He admitted Latin influence in the Christianization of the Serbs. He attributed the cult of SS. Peter and Paul, popular in ancient Serbia, to the influence of Latin missionaries, and mentioned also a Latin inscription in the ruins of the small church, near Prepolje on the river Lim.


131. For details, see D. Bosković, Architektura Srednjeg veka (Beograd, 1957), p. 178 ff., pp. 273-275. On the old churches of Raška from the earliest times, before the appearance of the Nemanja’s dynasty, see also A. Deroko, Monumentalna i dekorativna arhitektura u srednjevekovnoj Srbiji (Beograd, 1953), pp. 49-57.


132. PL, 77, col. 799.


133. Mansi, XIII, col. 137, 146.


134. Mansi, XVI, col. 194.


135. H. Gelzer, Ungedruckte Texte, pp. 557, 558.


136. Cf. F. Dvornik, Les Légendes, pp. 88, 89. Cf. J. B. Bury, A History of the Eastern Roman Empire (London, 1912), p. 378.


137. B. A. Pančenko, “Katalog Molevdovulov,” pp. 203, 204, nos. 3, 4. Cf. Pertusi, Costantino Porfirogenito, p. 176. The catepano Petronas of the Boilas family, mentioned by Porphyrogenitus in his De administrando imperio, ch. 45, was most probably the chief of an Armenian force stationed at Nikopolis in the thema of Koloneia in Asia Minor, not in the thema of Nicopolis. See R. J. H. Jenkins, De admin, imperio, vol. 2, Commentary, p. 177.


138. See F. Dvornik, La vie de SS. Grégoire le Décopolite (Paris, 1926), pp. 36, 62, 63; Pertusi, Costantino Porfirogenito, p. 168.


139. The region of Strymon became, most probably, after the victory





of Justinian II, a kleisura, comprising the passes of the river Strymon. Its commander, with his Slavic contingent, was responsible for the defense of these important passages against the Bulgars. Before the creation of the Macedonian thema, he was under the orders of the strategos of Thrace, and later of the strategos of Macedonia. The region might have become an archontia at the beginning of the ninth century, but we lack documentary evidence for this. Cf. P. Lemerle, Philippes, p. 124 ff.


140. For details, see S. K. Kyriakides, Βυζαντιναὶ μελέται, part 4 Thessalonica, 1933), Τὸ Βόλερον. Cf. P. Lemerle, Philippes, pp. 129, 130.


141. H. Gelzer, Georgii Cyprii Descriptio orbis romani, p. 3 ff.: Basilii Notitia.


142. Mansi, XVII, cols. 373, 376. For details, see F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, pp. 234-239.


143. Cf. F. Dvornik, The Slavs, pp. 97, 163, 164. Cf. below, Ch. V, p. 158.


144. Published by H. Gelzer, Ungedruckte und ungenügend veröffentlichte Texte der Notitiae episcopatuum, p. 554 ff. The same names are found also in the Nova tactica from the time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, published by H. Gelzer, Georgii Cyprii Descriptio, pp. 67, 68, 80.


145. The mention of a strategos of Belgrade by Constantine in ch. 32, Const. Porph., ed. Moravcsik, Jenkins, p. 152, is important. It shows that the Byzantines had most probably reconquered the city after the Avar defeat of 626. See my commentary, Const. Porph., De Admin. Imperio, vol. 2, ed. Jenkins, p. 133, and above, p. 4.


146. See my book, Les Slaves, p. 239 ff.


147. Cf. ibid., p. 246. The description given there on pp. 240-248 on the ecclesiastical reorganization of the Peloponnesus is completed by A. Bon, Le Péloponnèse byzantin, pp. 103-113. Cf. also S. K. Kyriakides, Οἱ Σλάβοι ἐν Πελοποννήσῳ (Saloniki, 1939). See also P. Lemerle, “Une province byzantine: le Péloponnèse," Byzantion, 21 (1951), pp. 341-353.


148. H. Gelzer, Georgii Cyprii descriptio, p. 12. We can regard as Slavic also the see called Modrine. See F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, p. 103. The Vita S. Ioannicii Magni (754-846) seems to give us an example of how quickly the Slavs in Bithynia were Byzantinized. The saint was born in the village of Marykatos in Bithynia. At the age of nineteen (in 773) he was enrolled in the eighteenth bandon of the imperial excubitores. He served in the army for more than twenty-five years and distinguished himself particularly when, under Constantine II, the Bulgars invaded Byzantine Thrace. His exploits attracted the attention of the emperor and, in an interview with him, Joannicius said that his





family’s name was Boilas. This is a Bulgar name designating boyars of special rank. It is quite possible that among the prisoners transferred to Asia Minor, there were also some Bulgar boyars who had commanded their Slavic warriors, and that the family of Joannicius descended from one of them. His parents were Christians with Byzantine names—Anastaso and Myritzikos. See the Vita, written by Sabas in Acta Sanctorum Novembris II (Brussels, 1894), pp. 337, 338. Around 795 Joannicius left the army and became a monk at Mount Olympus. The father of St. Paul the Younger, one of Joannicius’ relatives, was an officer in the fleet. See the Vita Pauli in Analecta Bollandiana, 11 (1892), pp. 20, 21. See Speros Vryonis, “St. Joannicius the Great (754-846) and the Slavs of Bithynia,” Byzantion, 31 (1961), pp. 245-248. The author rightly points out that the army and the Church were the main instruments in this Byzantinization.


149. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, pp. 72, 73.


150. G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, p. 204.


151. See F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, p. 73; G. Hopf, Geschichte Griechenlands (Leipzig, 1867), p. 97.


152. Cf. G. S. Radojčić, “La date de la conversion des Serbes,” Byzantion, 22 (1952), pp. 253-256.


153. For the early history of Bulgaria, see S. Runciman, A History of the First Bulgarian Empire (London, 1930), p. 3 ff.; W. Swoboda, “Powstanie państwa bulgarskiego v Dolnej Mezji” (Foundation of the Bulgarian State in Lower Moesia), Slavia occidentalis, 22 (1962), pp. 50-66.


154. Cf. G. Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, p. 194 ff., pp. 199, 200.


155. Propylaeum ad Acta Sanctorum Novembris—Synaxarium, ed. by H. Delehaye (Brussels, 1902), cols. 414-416. Besides Manuel, four bishops are especially mentioned: George, Leo, Marinus, Pardo, two stratèges Leo, John and Gabriel with Sionios.


156. Menologium Basilii imperatoris, PG, 117, cols. 276, 277.


157. See K. M. Loparev, “Dve zametki po drevnej bolgarskoj istorii,” in Zapiski russkago arkheologičeskago obsčestva, vol. 3 (St. Petersburg, 1888), pp. 341—362, esp. 348. Cf. also V. N. Zlatarski, Istorija na bŭlgarskata dŭrzava, vol. 1 (Sofia, 1918), p. 292 ff.


158. Theophanes Continuatus (Bonn, 1838), p. 217.


159. It was published by Enrica Follieri and commented on by I. Dujčev, “Acolutia inedita per i martiri di Bulgaria dell’auno 813,” Byzantion, 33 (1963), pp. 71-106.


160. See what H. G. Beck says on the two authors in his work Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich (Munich, 1959), pp. 505, 601, 602; E. Follieri, “Acolutia inedita,” p. 73, with more bibliography.


161. Chronographia, ed. de Boor, vol. 1, p. 498.





162. Cf. N. Adontz, “L'âge et l'origine de l'empereur Basil I,” Byzantion, 9 (1934), p. 238 ff.


163. Cf. G. Moravcsik, Berliner byzantinishsche Arbeiten, vol. 10 (Berlin, 1958), Byzantinoturcica, vol. 2, pp. 75, 76, 165.


164. The veneration of the 377 martyrs was very popular in Byzantium. A later legendary tradition had tried to connect the Emperor Basil I in some way with the martyrs. It was said that he had been one of those deported from Adrianopolis and that some of his relatives were among the martyrs slain by Omortag. It is quite possible that Basil's parents were among the prisoners transferred by Krum, and that he was born in captivity, but shortly before the prisoners had escaped from the Bulgarians (see below, footnote 169). See, for details, G. Moravcsik, “Sagen und Legenden über Kaiser Basileios I,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 15 (1961), pp. 61-126, especially p. 70 ff.


165. The Little Catechesis, ed. E. Auvray (Paris, 1891), p. 220 ff.; 99, col. 591.


166. See V. Beševliev, “Souverenitätsansprüche eines bulgarischen Herrschers im 9. Jahrhundert," BZ, 55 (1962), pp. 11-20; cf. also idem, "Protobuglarische Inschrift auf einer Silberschale," Byzantion, 35 196-5), pp. 1-9.


167. Cf. S. Runciman, A History of the First Bulgarian Empire, pp. “1-84. The results of the excavations, renewed in 1945, have been published in the Izvestija of the Bulgarian Archaeological Institute, vols. 13 (1939), 14 (1940-42), 20 (1945), 22 (1959). Cf. R. Krautheimer, Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture (Baltimore, 1965), pp. 224-226, 346.


168. Historia martyrii XV martyrum, PG, 126, cols. 192 ff.


169. The suspicion of disloyalty among the Greeks in Bulgaria was not unfounded. The ten thousand prisoners brought by Krum from Adrianople in 813—their number had grown to twelve thousand—were concentrated beyond the Danube. They were given the privilege of a kind of self-government, and the khagans appreciated their services. It was natural, however, that they wished to return to their own country. At last their chief, Cordyles, succeeded in reaching Constantinople, and in persuading the Emperor Theophilus to help them to escape by sending ships to the Danube, which he did in 836. The Greeks were stopped by the local Bulgarian commander, but they defeated not only him, but also the Magyars, from whom he had asked help, and escaped safely, landing on Byzantine soil. Cf. Leo Grammaticus (Bonn), p. 232; Theophanes Contin. (Bonn), p. 216; Zlatarski, Istorija, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 339, 340; Runciman, First Bulgarian Empire, p. 86.


170. Einhardi Annales, MGH Ss 1, pp. 212, 213.


171. Ibid., p. 216, Annales Fuldenses, ibid., 1, pp. 359, 360; ed. F. Kurz, p. 25.


172. Annales Fuldenses, ibid., p. 364, ed. F. Kurz, p. 35. On Srěm,





see Zlatarski, Istorija, vol I, p. 316, vol. I, 2, p. 787; Bury, A History, pp. 363, 365. Already J. Šafařík, Slavische Altertümer (Prague, 1844), vol. 2, pp. 291, 292, 301, 302, had established that the territory of Srěm, former Sirmium, from Osek and Brod as far as Semlin, remained under Bulgarian rule from the reign of Omortag through the rest of the ninth and during the whole of the tenth century. The Frankish territory in Pannonian Croatia went only as far as the rivers Sutla and Kulpa. The Bulgarians seem to have entrusted the ruling over the territory of Sirmium to native Croat governors under their sovereignty. The last of these governors was Sermon who resided in Srěm. When the Byzantines had made an end to the first Bulgarian empire, Sermon refused to accept Byzantine supremacy, trying to rule this territory as his own independent domain. The Byzantine governor Diogenes, unable to break his resistance, had Sermon treacherously assassinated (1019). See Cedrenus (Bonn, 1839), vol. 2, p. 476. After the assassination of her husband, his widow surrendered Sirmium to the Byzantines. She was brought to Constantinople where she was given in matrimony to a nobleman. Zonaras (Bonn, 1897), vol. 3, p. 667, mentions also that Sirmium surrendered to the Byzantines only after the destruction of Bulgaria and the submission of the Croats. Both authors regarded the territory of Sirmium as a particular province of the first Bulgarian Empire. The importance of Sirmium and the fact that it was part of the Bulgarian Empire is also illustrated by the erection of a Bulgarian bishopric in the city. This is attested by the list of bishoprics under Tsar Samuel in the tenth century; however, Sirmium seems to have been the see of one of the seven bishops sent to Bulgaria after 870 by the Patriarch Ignatius. We know the sees of two others—Belgrad and Morava. See J. Jirecek, Geschichte der Serben (Gotha, 1917), vol. 1, p. 194, and especially H. Gelzer, “Ungedruckte und wenig bekannte Bistümer der Orientalischen Kirche,” BZ, 1 (1892), p. 257: Ὁ Σιρμίου ἤτοι Στριάμου under the sees of ancient Justinana Prima, BZ, 2 (1893), p. 53.


173. The existence of Khagan Presiam, or Peresian, has been the object of discussion among specialists of Bulgarian history. V. N. Zlatarski, Istorija na bŭlgarskata duržava, vol. 1 (Sofia, 1918), pp. 447-459, thinks that Presiam was the son of Svinitse and that he reigned from 836 to 852. S. Runciman, First Bulgarian Empire, pp. 86, 88, 292-297, saw in Presiam a general, a scion of the reigning house, whom the Serbs took for the Khagan himself. He thought that Malamir was Khagan from 831 to 852. However, he overlooked two inscriptions rediscovered in Philippi, and published by F. Dvornik, “Deux inscriptions gréco-bulgares de Philippes,” Bulletin de correspondence hellénique, 52 (1928), pp. 125-143. In one of these Presiam, the Khagan, is said to have sent the Khagan Isboulos with an army against the





Slavic tribe of the Smoljans. This inscription, studied anew by V. Beševljev, “Inscriptions protobulgares,” Byzantion, 29-30 (1959-1960), pp. 485—488, proves that Malamir, who had succeeded Omortag, reigned only to 836 and was followed by Presiam, or Peresian, son of Omortag’s son Svinitse. P. Lemerle, Philippes, pp. 135-139, rejecting the thesis of H. Grégoire, “Les sources épigraphiques de l’histoire bulgare,” Byzantion, 9 (1934), p. 773 ff., who thought, as did J. Bury, A History of the Eastern Roman Empire (London, 1912), pp. 481 ff., that Presiam was another name for Malamir, combines the episode described in the inscription with the escape of Byzantine prisoners, aided by the emperor, in 836. The Bulgars saw in this the violation of the peace treaty which should have lasted for thirty years, and invaded the territory of the Smoljans, who occupied the land near Philippi. The Bulgars were victorious and took possession of that city as is indicated in the second inscription from Philippi. The Byzantines confined themselves to guarding the coast, thus assuring communications between Thessalonica and Constantinople. The Byzantine army was commanded by the Caesar Mosélé, as is attested in the biography of St. Gregory the Decapolite, published by F. Dvornik, La vie de Saint Grégoire le Decapolite et les Slaves Macédoniens au IXe siècle (Paris, 1926), pp. 36—40, 62, 63. Mosélé’s expedition has to be dated in the year 837 (cf. Lemerle, Philippes, pp. 132—134). G. Ostrogorsky, “Byzantine Background of Moravian Mission,” DOP, 19 (1965), p. 10, when discussing the problem of Malamir and Presiam, overlooked the publication of the inscriptions of Philippi, by F. Dvornik and V. Beševljev. Ivan Dujčev discovered in the name Presiam an Iranian root pers-, admitting Iranian cultural influence on the proto-Bulgarians in their early history. See his study “Presiam-Persian,” Ezikovedsko-etnografski izsledvanija v pamet an akademik Stojan Romanski (Bulgarian Academy, Sophia, 1960), pp. 478-482.


174. Const. Porph. De Adm. Imp., ed. Moravcsik, Jenkins, ch. 32, p. 154; see Const. Porph. De Adm. Imp., vol. 2, ed. Jenkins, p. 134, for commentary by F. Dvornik.


175. Annales Fuldenses, p. 376, ed. F. Kurz, p. 42.


176. MGH Ss 1, p. 448.


177. Istorija, vol. 1, pt. 2 (1927), p. 6 ff.


178. A History of the Eastern Roman Empire (London, 1912), p. 383.


179. Cf. S. Runciman, First Bulgarian Empire, p. 92.


180. Historia Martyrii, col. 197. He combines the Frankish cloud with the famine which had forced Boris to come to an agreement with the Byzantines, and to accept their form of Christianity. This could also indicate that he had in mind the pact with Louis the German, and Boris’ preparations to join him in an attack against the Moravians.


181. S. Runciman, First Bulgarian Empire, p. 92, discards the possibility





of Boris’ attack on Dalmatian Croatia, arguing that Boris could have reached Trpimir's territory only through Pannonia or Serbia. However, the territory of Sirmium, under Bulgarian rule, also touched on Dalmatian Croatia. Constantine (ch. 31, ed. Moravcsik, Jenkins, p. 150) seems to be speaking in this chapter only of the Dalmatian Croats, stressing that “never yet have these Croats paid tribute to the Bulgarians.” See my book, The Slavs, p. 54, and my commentary to Const. Porph. De Adm. Imp., vol. 2, ed. Jenkins, pp. 128,129. Cf. also F. Šišić, Geschichte der Kroaten (Zagreb, 1917), p. 81. Zlatarski in Istorija, 1, 2, p. 8 ff.; idem, “Velká Morava a Bulharsko v IX st.,” Risa Velkomoravská, ed. J. Stanislav (Prague, 1933), p. 247 ff., thinks that Louis had instigated the conflict between the Croats and Boris in order to prevent Boris from helping the Moravians. He dates the conflict in the year 854. However, we have no evidence for a Moravo-Bulgarian alliance as he supposes. I have discussed the problem in my book, Les Légendes, p. 226 ff., and have expressed certain doubts about the existence of such an alliance. It is safer to attribute Boris’ attack on Frankish Pannonian Croatia in 853 to the instigation of Charles the Bald, and to see the Slavs who had sided with Boris as the Slavs from Pannonian Croatia.


182. Const. Porph. De Adm, Imp., ch. 32, ed. Moravcsik, Jenkins, p. 154.


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